University of Michigan Law School professor Bridget Mary McCormack has earned a coveted endorsement from Democracy for America (DFA), the premier progressive political action organization in the country. McCormack joins the ranks of other progressive women like Senate candidates Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) who have all been endorsed this year by DFA. You can read my recent interview with McCormack HERE.
DFA’s criteria for endorsing a candidate are:
- Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
- Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
- Do the candidate’s positions and policies fit into DFA’s set of core progressive values?
- Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?
I spoke to DFA Chairperson Jim Dean yesterday about this important endorsement.
“We are very excited to be endorsing a terrific candidate like Bridget McCormack,” Dean told me. “I’m always big on citizens getting into politics, but there’s really no better place than the Supreme Court race or, really, any court race, particularly in a state where it’s gotten so politicized and money is coming in from these “agenda donors”. I think it brings back the honor of the court a little bit.”
Dean talked about McCormack’s work as the Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Michigan on behalf of citizens who cannot afford legal representation.
“Some justices are better than others, of course, but there’s always some element of “ivory tower” and that’s what you have to be careful of. So, it is, in fact, better when you get someone with her experience on the Court. The public defenders work that she’s done and the work that she’s done on behalf of those who can’t afford to get the full benefit of the system — those things are a big deal with me and with Democracy for America. Bridget McCormack knows the reality for these people, she knows what the system really means for the people that have to go through it and I think a lot folks, when they get on the court, no matter what their politics are, they lose that reality.
“I just can’t help but think, when I think of Bridget McCormack, of the sort of antithesis of this which is the Supreme Court justice in the almost-neighboring state of Wisconsin, David Prosser, who is totally an agenda-driven person, who is totally funded by a very small group of people, and frankly has comported himself in a way that is not befitting of his office. Our courts need people like Bridget McCormack to lead by example.”
Dean told me that DFA will make around 130 endorsements this year. About half are federal Congressional office. The rest of them are mostly state legislative races and in some cases, at the city level. McCormack is the only judge on their endorsement list. I asked him how they choose the candidates they endorse.
“That’s what’s great about having a lot of members,” he said. “It was our DFA members in Michigan, for example, that told us about Bridget. We probably wouldn’t have known about her otherwise. We just got involved in a city council race in Stockton, California which has declared bankruptcy and has a lot of other very, very serious problems. The candidate is a guy named Michael Tubbs and we wouldn’t have known about him unless our members had told us about him.”
As they say on their website, a “DFA endorsement brings our national network of activists together, providing key resources to the endorsed campaign: Time, People, Money and Media.”
“We’re going to help her in whatever way is appropriate and legal in terms of financial support or other support,” Dean said.
It’s important to remember that, if you vote a straight-party ticket, you still must go to the non-partisan section of the ballot. Even though the state Parties have endorsed candidates for the Supreme Court, you must still vote for them separately from the partisan races. The same is true for the ballot initiatives.
Talking about the importance of the non-partisan part of the ballot and for the election of Supreme Court justices, Dean finished with this:
“In many respects, this election may be more important than the last one. I mean, every election is important, but there are a lot of people that got turned off and tuned out in 2010 and even among activists it’s a different type of mentality now. It’s very businesslike and we all worry that people who aren’t really into this or don’t vote very often or just don’t pay attention are going to stay home. So they really need to come out. No matter what their politics are, they need to come out.”
[Photo credits: Anne C. Savage, used with permission]