The chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court says it’s “jarring” to see violent paintings in the Van Buren County courthouse. But Bridget McCormack says it’s not her job to tell local leaders how to manage the building. McCormack was there last week participating in an effort to observe and assist judges. One mural in a stairwell shows a bare-breasted woman holding a decapitated head and a spear. Another painting above a judge’s bench shows a nude man and nude woman begging for mercy. Local judges want the paintings covered up or removed, but county commissioners have said no. McCormack says the painting with the decapitated head could traumatize a crime victim. She says the old paintings might be appropriate for a museum but seem out of place in a courthouse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.