Donald Trump’s been open about what lies behind his Supreme Court blitzkrieg: At Tuesday’s trainwreck of a debate, he freely admitted: “I'm counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely.” Quite simply, he wants a pliant, stacked bench to tilt any election disputes in his favor.
But the right’s decades-long crusade to shatter our judiciary is about so much more. Conservatives are frothing to watch the courts declare universal health care unconstitutional, erase Roe v. Wade, delete safety measures by the bushel, undermine any attempts to roll back climate change, enshrine voter suppression, and just generally usher in a dystopian hellscape where plutocrats will rule the wreckage while the rest of us suffer in dismal darkness.
We have to fight back to protect the courts wherever we can, and the good news is, we can make huge strides this year in one of the most important swing states in the country. That’s why Daily Kos is proudly endorsing attorney Elizabeth Welch for the Michigan Supreme Court. Conservatives currently have a 4-3 majority on this critical court, but one of their seats is open this year due to a mandatory retirement. If Welch can flip it, that would give progressives the majority instead and ensure much greater fairness for all 10 million Michiganders.
Please give $3 to help Elizabeth Welch take back the Michigan Supreme Court right now!
Republicans are fielding two candidates in an effort to stop Welch: Court of Appeals Judge Brock Swartzle and former prosecutor Mary Kelly. Both are pieces of work. Swartzle spent years as counsel for Republicans in the state legislature while they were working to pass laws suppressing the vote, then was repaid with a sketchy appointment to the bench after a sitting judge resigned four hours before the official end of his term. He’s running on a belligerent “law and order” platform, locking arms with police unions.
Kelly, meanwhile, is an ideologue who has sought the support of anti-choice forces: In 2002 during a failed campaign for district court judge, she rented a list from Michigan Right to Life, a notorious organization dedicated to eliminating reproductive rights. Last year, Kelly was rewarded with a $292,000 contract to work for the court where her husband is chief judge after obtaining a “nepotism waiver,” which an applicant who underbid Kelly derided as “unethical” and a “farce.”
Welch is a true breath of fresh air compared to her rivals. She’s a past president of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and has fought to protect the state’s land, air, and water—the last a particularly pressing battle thanks to the Flint water crisis. She’s worked for years on voter protection efforts to raise awareness of voter suppression tactics. And she’s long been a vocal advocate for public schools, in a state where Betsy DeVos’ extreme wealth has bullied too many into silence.
Above all, she will be a fair and impartial jurist—the exact opposite of Swartzle and Kelly, with their records of right-wing views and questionably obtained jobs, and the exact opposite of Amy Coney Barrett, too. And if Welch wins, she’ll usher in a new era of justice for all of Michigan.
State supreme court races have been too often ignored on our side, while the right has spent years building up its bench, quite literally. For every Barrett or Kavanaugh or Gorsuch, there are dozens more operating quietly and unseen in the states, regularly ruling for oligarchs while smiting the little guy. We simply cannot allow this state of affairs to continue.
Whatever unfolds with the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming weeks may be out of our hands. But we have the power to choose what happens next with the Michigan Supreme Court. Let’s use it.
Please donate $3 right away so that we can flip the Michigan Supreme Court!