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Michigan Supreme Court’s Viviano to Retire, Ending Conservative Tenure

LANSING — Justice David Viviano of the Michigan Supreme Court has announced he will not seek re-election this fall, marking the end of his impactful tenure on the bench. Viviano, regarded as a staunch defender of conservative principles, made the announcement late Friday, calling his time on the court "the honor of my lifetime."

He expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement he received over his years of service and mentioned that he would unveil his post-term plans as his December 31 end date approaches. Despite often finding himself at odds with the court’s decisions, Viviano highlighted the privilege of engaging in the legal discourse that shapes Michigan, affirming his commitment to the rule of law and optimism for the state's future.

Serving as a cornerstone of conservative values, Viviano's departure signals a significant change in the court's composition. As one of the three justices nominated by Republicans, including Chief Justice Elizabeth Clement and Justice Brian Zahra, his exit removes the incumbent advantage for Republicans in the looming November general election.

First appointed to the court in 2013 by then-Governor Rick Snyder, 52-year-old Viviano secured his seat through subsequent elections, culminating in a full eight-year term victory in 2016. His tenure has been characterized by a firm conservative stance, especially noteworthy since the court shifted to a Democratic majority in 2020.

Notably, in 2022, he stood against the inclusion of an abortion rights proposal on the ballot and critiqued his fellow justices for neglecting religious freedoms in a ruling that extended anti-discrimination protections to LGBT individuals.

With two Michigan Supreme Court seats up for election this November, including one held by Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2022, the political landscape is primed for change. Both political parties in Michigan are preparing to nominate their candidates for the Supreme Court at their upcoming state conventions.

In a strategic move, State Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Adams Township, who initially considered running against Bolden, has shifted his focus to vie for Viviano's soon-to-be-vacant seat, aiming for a full eight-year term.