Michigan Democrats think they know what voters want in a state Supreme Court justice — an Irish woman. And with that in mind they’ve drafted a few candidates who fit the bill.
“Males lose to Irish females,” the state party observed in a memo obtained by the Mackinac Center that cites three elections in which a male incumbent went down in a race against a woman with an Irish surname. “All-woman ticket contrasts favorably against male incumbents,” the memo also states. The judicial candidates are officially non-partisan, but the state Democratic Party endorsed two lower-court judges — named Marie Kelley and Sheila Johnson — and and University of Michigan Law School professor named Bridget Mary McCormack.
The Republicans also endorsed an Irish-American woman, Colleen O’Brien.
For what it’s worth, Michigan attorneys think that an Irish name is good luck in judicial elections.”It seems like those lawyers with an Irish surname have an unfair advantage,” one in-state attorney told The Washington Examiner. The 6 out of 10 voters that bother to vote non-partisan seem to be attracted to candidates with Irish names.”
Here are some surnames from the list of the 22 current justices serving on the Michigan Court of Appeals: Cavanaugh; Fitzgerald; two share the surname Kelly; Murphy; O’Connell; and Riordan. Past justices on that court had names such as: Fitzgerald; Kavanagh; McGregor; Quinn; Brennan; Cavanagh; Kelly; Riley; Brennan again; Kelly again; Corrigan; and Collins.
“If you’re Irish — it’s a popular nationality,” the lawyer said to explain why this trend persists. “I can almost tell you who has been elected and who has been appointed,” he added, based on the surname of the justice.