Michigan Supreme Court

Samuel Bagenstos

Campaign website

Twitter: @Bagenstos4MI



Link to campaign finance info

Ballotpedia profile: NA

Samuel Bagenstos

Samuel Bagenstos is a University of Michigan law professor and candidate for Michigan Supreme Court. These are nonpartisan races but candidates are nominated to run by each political party. Bagenstos was nominated by the Michigan Democratic Party. 

On his campaign website, Bagenstos emphasizes the importance of an independent judiciary. “When individuals or groups are shut out of the democratic process, when their voices aren’t heard because they lack economic or political power, it’s the judiciary that must listen to them and take them seriously. The courts must faithfully implement the laws democratically enacted by the people, and they must stand as a bulwark to protect everyone’s rights.”

Bagenstos specializes in constitutional and civil rights litigation. He has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court,  including three cases related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. He represented Flint residents seeking relief for injuries they received in the Flint water crisis, and argued on behalf of worker rights, the LGBT community, and the right to vote.

Bagenstos joined the UM Law School faculty in 2009. At that time he also was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Justice, serving from 2009-2011 as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Prior to coming to UM, Bagenstos was a law professor and associate dean for research and faculty development at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He has been on the faculty of Harvard Law School and was a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law.

Early in his career, Bagenstos clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He also served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina and a law degree from Harvard University.

Bagenstos is married to Margo Schlanger, a UM law professor. They have two teenage children and live in Ann Arbor's Burns Park neighborhood.

Ellen Katz, a UM law professor, is serving as Bagenstos' campaign treasurer.

Click here for a description of the Michigan Supreme Court as well as links to other judicial candidate profiles.

Samuel Bagenstos:  In The News

Candidate Info: Samuel BagenstosWEMU, Oct. 29, 2018

6 compete for 2 seats on Michigan Supreme CourtMLive, Oct. 16, 2018

Michigan Supreme Court Race Has 6 Candidates for 2 SeatsU.S. News & World Report, Oct. 14, 2018

College Dems welcome state supreme court nomineeMichigan Daily, Sept. 27, 2018

No surprises at Michigan Democratic Party conventionMichigan Radio, Aug. 27, 2018

Michigan Supreme Court: Candidate Bagenstos comes to Marquette, emphasizes importance of November raceThe Marquette Mining Journal, Aug. 9, 2018

Supreme Court candidate visits HoughtonThe Daily Mining Gazette, Aug. 7, 2018

Leading High Court Nominees EmergeDetroit News, April 5, 2018

One of America’s top civil rights lawyers launches bid for state supreme courtThinkProgress, March 1, 2018

Justice Bagenstos?Reason Magazine, Feb. 25, 2018

Union fees at risk as justices review Detroit precedent Detroit News, Feb. 22, 2018

Should voters who don’t vote stay on voter rolls?The Economist, Jan. 4, 2018

Can Sessions actually run for his old Senate seat?CNN, Nov. 15, 2017

Commentary: How Congress is hacking away at disability rightsReuters, Sept. 25, 2017

Supreme Court could decide if Michigan EM law violates Voting Rights ActMLive, March 31, 2017

What Happens to the Big Supreme Court Cases After Scalia's Death?NBC News, Feb. 14, 2016

Disability Laws Are Not Enough to Combat DiscriminationNew York Times, July 26, 2015

Sam Bagenstos and Margo Schlanger: Enhancing Faculty StrengthsWashington University Law School Magazine, Fall 2004