MHA Race of the Week – Michigan Supreme Court

Posted on September 28, 2018

The MHA’s Race of the Week series highlights the most pivotal statewide races for Election 2018. The series will provide hospitals and healthcare advocates with the resources they need to make informed decisions on Election Day, including candidates’ views and background.


This week’s MHA Race of the Week provides information on one of the most critical general election races: the Michigan Supreme Court. This judicial body is the cornerstone of Michigan’s legal system and is responsible for the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state. Every year, the Michigan Supreme Court reviews more than 2,000 cases, and its role in the application of law is crucial to Michigan residents.

There are four candidates running for two terms during this year’s election: incumbent Justices Elizabeth Clement and Kurtis Wilder were nominated by the Republican Party, and Samuel Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanagh were nominated by the Democratic Party.

Justice Elizabeth Clement has served as a member of the Michigan Supreme Court since Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her Nov. 17, 2017.  Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, she served as chief legal counsel for the governor, advising him on a wide variety of legal, legislative and policy matters. For more information, visit

Justice Kurtis Wilder was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by the governor in May 2017. Justice Wilder previously served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals from December 1998 to May 2017 and as a judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court from March 1992 to December 1998. For more information, visit

Samuel Bagenstos has been a civil rights lawyer for more than 20 years and is currently a professor of law at the University of Michigan. He served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. For more information, visit

Megan Kathleen Cavanagh has more than 15 years of experience as an appellate attorney in Michigan and is a shareholder at Garan Lucow Millower P.C. in Detroit. For more information, visit


The Michigan Supreme Court may consider cases that have significant implications for medical liability laws, which the healthcare community fought to have enacted in the 1990s. These laws established reasonable limitations on noneconomic damages, more specific criteria for expert witness testimony, and other common-sense measures that made liability insurance more affordable and significantly reduced frivolous lawsuits that were increasing healthcare costs and impeding doctors. The reforms allow scarce resources to be directed toward patient care and new staff recruitment rather than into the legal system. Erosion or elimination of these reforms would return Michigan to the medical liability crisis experienced in the 1990s, rather than allowing the state to move forward as a national center of excellence for healthcare.


The MHA typically favors a more conservative-leaning Michigan Supreme Court to support preserving medical liability reforms, since an unfriendly liability climate hinders hospitals’ ability to recruit and retain physicians, particularly in rural communities and urban centers and in certain specialties such as obstetrics/gynecology.

For more election information and updates or to request Election 2018 informational materials, visit the MHA Election webpage or email Join the MHA in talking about Election 2018 on social media using #MIVoteMatters.


  • MHA Race of the Week – Michigan Supreme Court

Tags: Michigan Supreme Court, MHA Race of the Week, Election 2018, MI Vote Matters, Elizabeth Clement, Kurtis Wilder, Samuel Bagenstos, Megan Kathleen Cavanagh

Posted in: Top Issues - Healthcare

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