2012.10.31 Sybil Diccion: Supreme Court justice election is very important
One of the least talked about races in the upcoming election is that of the Michigan Supreme Court. Seven justices reign on our court but this year, there are three vacancies and in my estimation, this race is more important than that of governor.
We all know the Michigan Supreme Court is our state's court of last resort. They hear only cases that will have a significant impact on the state and its people. Therefore, it is imperative that our chosen justices remain independent and impartial. However, recent studies by the law schools of the University of Chicago, New York University and Duke University found that the Michigan Supreme Court ranked dead last among our nation's state supreme courts when it came to the court’s independence. According to these studies, “the court's decisions reversed decades of established and honored law when they ruled in favor of corporations and the insurance industry more than any other court in the nation.”
This all began early in Governor Engler’s terms of office when tort reform swept over Michigan. According to the Resource Center in Kalamazoo, “Not only did he (Governor Engler) manage to pass unfair laws disadvantaging working people and families but he also packed our Michigan State Supreme Court with the most biased and corporative judges this state has ever seen.” From 1999 (when a conservative Republican majority was first seated) to 2008, the court had overruled 38 of its prior decisions, in contrast to the previous 10-year period 1989–1998, in which the court had overruled only eight prior decisions. http://domemagazine.com/glazer/lg0211
Because of the shameful results of these studies, we, as thoughtful citizens, need to research the candidates and make our choices based on the history of the candidate. All too frequently, we fail to vote for supreme court justices because the names of the candidates appear on the non-partisan section of the ballot. Anyone who casts a straight party ticket on Election Day will not cast a vote for the Supreme Court unless they specifically select the non-partisan section on the reverse side of the ballot.
I have deliberately spent a great deal of time looking at the candidates' backgrounds and have found the Three Supremes who have proven over and over that they take the term "non-partisan" very seriously are McCormack, Kelley and Johnson. Their selection would literally "raise the bar," thus increasing our standing once again to Number One standing in the nation.
– Sybil Diccion
Main St., Morenci