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    Chief Justice Young and the Ballot Proposals

    By PTurner, Section News
    Posted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:36:19 PM EST
    Tags: Rule of Law, Robert Young, Bob Young, Chief Justice Young, Brian Zahra, Michigan Supreme Court, Mary Beth Kelly, Stephen Markman, Ballot Proposals, Collective Bargaining, Constitution, Separation of Powers, Judiciary (all tags)

    Chief Justice Robert Young of the Michigan Supreme Court released a statement this afternoon discussing how the Rule of Law judicial philosophy compelled his, and his Rule of Law colleagues', decisions regarding the various ballot proposals.  In addition to the Court's opinion itself (authored by Justice Brian Zahra) it is an interesting companion piece.

    In particular, Young concisely and persuasively explains why the Court's decision was proper, even if conservatives may feel some disappointment that proposals that represent bad policy will make it to the ballot this November.  

    Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Rule of Law.

    In Defense of Constitutional Government and the People's Right of Self-Governance - the Right to Vote on Ballot Questions

    September 6, 2012

    When judges become partisan players, the People's rights will perish.

    Beware of judges who tell you how they will rule on cases. They are almost never rule of law judges, because rule of law judges must follow the law, not their personal policy preferences. Those folks who can tell you whether a legal decision is good or bad without reading it are not constitutional conservatives because their policy preferences are not dictated by the law.

    For nearly 15 years, I have stood firmly and proudly as a member of a Rule of Law Supreme Court majority that established a judicial system that respects the rights of the People in a self-governing constitutional republic. Our decisions have consistently enforced the right of the People, not judges, to make their own policy choices. This principle applies to the People's legislative policy choices, their contractual choices and, most important, to the constitutional policies they have enshrined in our constitution.

    The People of Michigan have specifically preserved to themselves the right directly to control their government through policies advanced in ballot initiatives and referenda. It is the constitutional obligation of judges to respect this constitutional right, not thwart it.

    Those who opposed the People's right to control their government by ballot proposals were just as adamant that the People not be given an opportunity to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman (2004) and to prevent government sanctioned racial and gender discrimination (2006). They failed. Both of these controversial initiatives were properly placed on the ballot because they complied with all of the ballot petition rules. The voters got to decide on their merits.

    Again, the People have proposed a number of constitutional amendments for consideration at the November general election.

    As before, opponents of those proposals launched legal challenges to keep them off the ballot. Some critics of the proposals have asserted that the Court should have kept them off the ballot because they were "bad policy." This isn't the Court's function in a constitutional republic. Whether a policy is good or not is a question that the people or the people's representatives must decide. Our job was to determine whether the proposals complied with the law that establishes the ground rules for voter initiated petitions.

    Therefore, on Wednesday, the same Rule of Law majority - that has always striven to follow the law - respected the People's right of self-governance and ordered those ballot proposals that complied with the republication requirements to be placed on the ballot. As our constitution requires, the People of this State will decide in November whether these proposals should be adopted.

    While some may question the wisdom of one or more of these ballot proposals, one cannot, consistent with the principles of a constitutional government, permit or encourage judges to negate the People's right to decide those policy questions where the proponents have complied with the laws to place them on the ballot.

    Chief Justice Bob Young

    < The Nighmares Are Back | Plaintiff Lawyer Tricks >

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    Good logic .. but for ONE initiative (none / 0) (#1)
    by JGillman on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:02:59 AM EST
    The POJA, similar to RMGN should have been kept off the ballot, and for similar reasons.

    The effect of its passage could not be expressed in 100 words or less.

    Unless it doesn't matter that the people should understand what they are voting on?

    But I defer to the court's wisdom on this, and am comfortable with their refereeing.


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