Bridget Mary McCormack

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Bridget McCormack
70th Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Assumed office
January 9, 2019
Preceded byStephen Markman
Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Assumed office
January 1, 2013
Preceded byMarilyn Jean Kelly
Personal details
Born (1966-07-23) July 23, 1966 (age 53)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Steven P. Croley
RelativesMary McCormack (sister)
Will McCormack (brother)
EducationTrinity College, Connecticut (BA)
New York University (JD)

Bridget Mary McCormack (born July 23, 1966) is the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, a position she has held since January 9, 2019. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to her election to the court as associate justice in 2012, she was a professor at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. She taught criminal law and legal ethics and oversaw the law school's clinical programs as associate dean of clinical affairs. Her academic work focused on practical experience in legal education.[1]

McCormack launched and worked in a pediatric advocacy law clinic focusing on children with health problems, and a domestic violence clinic. She is founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, the first innocence clinic in the country that exclusively handles non-DNA evidence cases.[1][2]

In November 2012, she was elected a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, to replace Marilyn Kelly, who was retiring from the bench.[1] McCormack resigned from her position at the university before joining the Court.[2] In seeking a seat on the Court, McCormack ran an independent outsider campaign, and was not a favorite of the Michigan Democratic Party establishment, though she ultimately received the party's endorsement.[3]

Education and background[edit]

McCormack attended a Catholic high school in New Jersey.[4] She received her Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science and philosophy from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1988. She received her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar, in 1991.[1]

McCormack started her legal career in New York, first as trial counsel at the Legal Aid Society and then at the Office of the Appellate Defender. She taught at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut as a Robert M. Cover Fellow from 1997-98. She joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School in 1998,[2] and became associate dean of clinical affairs in 2003.

Professional activities[edit]

As associate dean for clinical affairs at the law school, McCormack supervised students in complex federal litigation in the general clinical program. McCormack also worked to expand Michigan Law School's clinical offerings during her tenure.[citation needed]

In 2008, McCormack founded the Michigan Innocence Clinic, which is the nation's first exclusively non-DNA innocence clinic.[5] As of September 22, 2012, the Michigan Innocence Clinic has exonerated five innocent people who were wrongfully convicted.[6][7][8][9]

McCormack has published articles on constitutional law, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and legal ethics.[10] McCormack serves on the Association of American Law Schools Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. In 2008, she testified before the Detroit City Council about its investigation of the city attorney's role in the case involving former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.[10]

Michigan Supreme Court[edit]

In 2012, McCormack ran for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. Her campaign included an advertisement encouraging voters to complete the non-partisan section of the ballot where this seat was listed, and also promoting her qualifications.[11] The ad featured a reunion of much of the principal cast of The West Wing, including McCormack's sister Mary. During the campaign, the Judicial Crisis Network released an ad claiming that McCormack had "volunteered to help free a terrorist" when she represented an individual held without charge in Guantanamo, Abdumuqit Vohidov. Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times criticized the ad as exploitative, pointing out that Vohidov was released by a non-judicial board and questioning whether he should be described as a "terrorist".[12] McCormack was elected, along with incumbents Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

McCormack's father is a former United States Marine and retired small business owner, and her mother is a clinical social worker. McCormack's sister Mary McCormack is an actress. Her brother, Will McCormack, is an actor and screenwriter.[15]

McCormack is married to University of Michigan Law School professor Steven P. Croley, who, while on leave from the law school, served as general counsel in the United States Department of Energy from May 21, 2014 to January 19, 2017.[16] The couple has four children.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d Faculty Bio: Bridget Mary McCormack, University of Michigan Law School.
  2. ^ a b c Peter Shahin & Haley Goldberg, McCormack, Markman to assume seats on state Supreme Court, Michigan Daily (Nov. 7, 2012).
  3. ^ Lessenberry, Jack. "Commentary: Time for a new democratic chair?". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  4. ^ Rob Trucks, Bridget Mary and Mary McCormack: The Rhapsody Interview, (Oct. 29, 2012).
  5. ^ Munslow, Amy (February 18, 2009). "Innocence Clinic defends wronged prisoners". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  6. ^ Michigan's Innocence Clinic. Out of the Blue. September 9, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "Providence's providence". Metro Times. March 31, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Svoboda, Sandra (January 12, 2011). "When Innocence is Pink". Metro Times. Archived from the original on 2011-01-16. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  9. ^ Gay, Mara (July 16, 2012). "Ordeal by Fire". The Daily. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Faculty bios: Bridget M. McCormack". Michigan University School of Law. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  11. ^ "How Michigan judicial candidate Bridget Mary McCormack got 'The West Wing' cast for her campaign video". The Washington Post. September 20, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Andrew Rosenthal (2012-11-01). "Everyone Deserves Legal Representation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01.
  13. ^ "Election results 2012: Michigan Supreme Court stays conservative; 2 incumbents win along with 1 newcomer". Michigan Live. 2012-11-07. Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  14. ^ John Wisely (2012-11-07). "Republican-nominated justices led in their races to maintain control of the Michigan Supreme Court". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on 2012-11-07.
  15. ^ a b How Michigan judicial candidate Bridget Mary McCormack got ‘The West Wing’ cast for her campaign video, Washington Post, September 20, 2012.
  16. ^ "Steven Croley | Department of Energy". Retrieved 2016-12-07.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Marilyn Jean Kelly
Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Preceded by
Stephen Markman
Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court