More criticism of the Michigan Supreme Court
The Traverse City Record Eagle reported on February 19 that the American Judicature Society had criticized the Michigan Supreme Court for being "the only judges in the country who do not have rules that establish grounds for disqualification" according to the Campaign Finance Network.
There are no legislative rules for when a judge should be disqualified from deciding a controversy: with an independent judiciary, it falls upon the court system to decide when a judge must be excused due to a conflict of interest. The Michigan Supreme Court would be responsible for establishing this kind of framework in Michigan--to preserve both the propriety and objectivity of the Court, and to preserve the appearance of objectivity.
Unfortunately, Governor Engler selected very activist, politicized people to serve on the Court, and they, in turn, have accepted financial support from the Chamber of Commerce and insurance entities who bring many controversies before the court. Since the Justices rely for financial support in their own campaigns upon frequent litigants, they are reluctant to impose conflict of interest rules.
In previous blogs on this website, we have discussed numerous controversies that have been reported, as an outgrowth of the activist Justices' million-dollar re-election campaigns and their huge media support from the Chamber of Commerce. In return, the four most insurance- and manufacturer-oriented of the Justices have repeatedly ruled in favor of the vested interests of their supporters---and against consumers, ordinary citizens, and victims.
These Justices won't be recusing themselves from their friends' cases any time soon. As one old time Traverse City lawyer claimed: "a conflict of interest is better than no interest at all." Sad that we've reached this depth of cynicism, but if you read the opinions of these four Justices, and compare the opinions with their campaign financial records, cynicism is unavoidable.