Commentator Assails Michigan Court, Praises Reform Plan

Phil Power, president of a think tank named The Center for Michigan, likes the recommendations for Michigan judicial election reform made recently by a nonpartisan task force, and he thinks they should be more than a conversation-starter.

“When I think about the Michigan Supreme Court, I have to sadly conclude that it represents the very best justice that partisan money can buy. And that’s a scandal and a disgrace,” Power writes in a Holland (Mi.) Sentinel column.

The task force’s report makes for “pretty scary reading,” Power says. He finds disturbing that “[t]he 2010 campaign for our Supreme Court was the most expensive and the most secretive in the nation,” and also that “in the 1990s, a whopping 86 percent of Michigan Supreme Court cases involved contributors to justices’ campaigns, and there’s no reason to think that’s changed.”

The task force, for its leading recommendations, urged full disclosure of all funding for state Supreme Court campaign advertising and open, nonpartisan primaries for the Supreme Court.

“Justice [Marilyn] Kelly’s task force has at least got the conversation started. And even cynics like me might hope that our leaders might, at some point, be willing to do something to benefit our entire state,” Power concludes.

You can learn more about the task force and other appraisals of its findings from Gavel Grab.

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