ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Bridget McCormack is running for Michigan's Supreme Court, and it's definitely not going unnoticed.
McCormack has come under attack for a role she played in the case of a Guantanamo prisoner. A million-dollar ad campaign financed by an out-of-state group called the Judicial Crisis Network features a Michigan woman, Teri Johnson, of Flint, whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
Johnson's son Joe was killed while serving in the Army. In the ad, Johnson says she could not believe McCormack volunteered to help free suspected terrorists.
"So, when I heard Bridget McCormack volunteered to represent and free suspected terrorists, I couldn't believe it," Johnson says in the TV ad.
On Thursday in Ann Arbor, McCormack responded with sympathy for Johnson and contempt for the group behind the ad.
"As a mother of four kids I think there is no tragedy bigger than the one she has suffered," McCormack said.
McCormack said she had been asked as dean of the University of Michigan Law School Clinics to represent the Guantanamo prisoner.
"To help the government process all of these cases, to figure out how to punish the guilty, make sure the rule of law was followed," she said.
McCormick said other law schools, law firms and military lawyers had volunteered their services for hundreds of others held at Guantanamo. She said she had to apply for security clearance and did get one to travel to Cuba, but she never traveled.
The case ended when President George W. Bush's administration decided to send the man to his native Tazikstan where he is serving a 17-year term. McCormack says the case never went far enough for her to even meet him. She has no regrets about volunteering.
"What separates the American legal system from the rest of the world is that we believe in rule of law," she said. "And when we punish the guilty we do it after applying the rule of law."
Stu Sandler, spokesman for the Judicial Crisis Newtork, calls McCormack's position "extreme." He said there is an absolute difference between the legal rights of American citizens and those of enemy combatants.
"It's a shame that $1 million can come in from out of state to try to take apart my campaign," McCormack said.
-- Bridget McCormack
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