By Yusuf Mian | November 5th, 2018
Most Michiganders know the nominees for the 2018 Michigan Gubernatorial Election or the Senate Election, but few know the candidates for the down-the-ballot elections like that of the Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Supreme Court candidates rarely receive much attention from the media, so it can be difficult for candidates to get their names out to voters. Moreover, the political affiliations of these candidates are not listed on the ballot, meaning that voters cannot vote based on political parties. With that in mind, Greenhills students who don’t know any Michigan Supreme Court candidates can start by looking into Former Greenhills Debate Coach Sam Bagenstos.
Having worked with Bagenstos at Greenhills last year, I can tell you that he is an incredibly kind, thoughtful, and intelligent person. Yet Bagenstos’ qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice go far beyond my personal testimony. His credentials are impeccable: he has been a civil rights attorney for over 20 years, has served under President Obama in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and has argued many court cases including four cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. His campaign has garnered much support and includes endorsements from Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren. In addition, in a talk with Greenhills students, Former Gubernatorial Candidate Abdul El-Sayed described Bagenstos as “more than qualified for the position” and said that Bagenstos had a chance of becoming a federal justice in the future.
It is obvious that Bagenstos has the qualifications to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan, but even so, it is no easy feat to run for a statewide office. To learn more about Bagenstos’ campaign, the Alcove examined his strategies, goals, and inspirations through an email exchange. When asked what inspired him to run, Bagenstos stated, “with Donald Trump filling up the federal courts with young, conservative, lifetime appointees, the state courts will serve as the last line of defense for our basic rights.” However, given that Trump won the state of Michigan in 2016, Bagenstos will need to turn out his base if he is to win the election. How does Bagenstos plan on getting his message out? His goal is to “hold onto as many Democratic voters as possible” by ensuring that they understand the significance of the election.
It is clear that Bagenstos has the qualifications and motives to be a great Supreme Court Justice for all of Michigan, but the success of his campaign hinges upon young students and voters like yourselves getting out to vote on November 6th. And if you can’t vote, you can make a difference, too. You can spread the word about his campaign by talking to your friends and family or by knocking on doors in your neighborhood. If all works out well, we may very well see former Greenhills Debate coach Sam Bagenstos elected to the Michigan Supreme Court.