Michigan Legislature Writes Laws to Protect Themselves from Criminal Proceedings
In true Halloween spirit the GOP-heavy Michigan Senate played a horrendous trick on Michigan citizens as they rushed through a new law that will protect state government from accepting any responsibility in the event of any claim in excess of $1,000 filed against the state or the governor.
Waving their magic wands, Senate republicans passed SB-652 with ?immediate passage? and ?immediate effect?. The vote was along party lines, where the GOP frequently flaunts a 26-12 super-majority. The bill will now move to the House, where it is expected to pass along party lines easily.
Although the House does not have the required two-thirds majority required to enact a law under immediate effect, it will not be the first time they have ignored that fact and applied immediate effect to a controversial bill. The House is comprised of 59 republicans, 49 democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy. In order to enact immediate effect, state law requires a roll call vote of 73 votes in favor of the proposal. The GOP-controlled House has been in the spotlight for their flagrant misuse of power and seeming inability to interpret the Michigan constitution over the past two and a half years.
The State Bar Of Michigan Blog explains:
Current statute provides that the Court of Claims, which hears cases involving claims of $1,000 or more against the state, is a function of the Ingham County circuit court.
Under SB-562 (changes capitalized):
Section 6404, (1) The court of claims CONSISTS OF 4 COURT OF APPEALS JUDGES FROM AT LEAST 2 COURT OF APPEALS DISTRICTS ASSIGNED BY THE SUPREME COURT. A COURT OF APPEALS judge WHILE SITTING AS A JUDGE OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS may exercise the jurisdiction of the court of claims as provided by law.
The changes continue to outline that all cases currently pending in the circuit shall be transferred immediately to the court of appeals for adjudication.
The legislators are attempting to claim that this is being done to relieve the circuit court of an imagined backlog. What these changes actually do is transfer judicial decisions from the democratically elected judges in the Ingham County circuit court and place them firmly under the very partisan control of the Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court is comprised of 5 republican-backed justices and only 2 democratically-backed justices. To say that such a one-sided court could ever produce a truly impartial plan or appoint an impartial board would be a bold-faced lie.
Said MLive’s Jonathan Oosting on the matter:
Ingham County judges regularly preside over high-profile cases — including recent challenges to Michigan’s emergency manager and right-to-work laws — and have developed a left-leaning reputation.
The bill sponsor, Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, insists that the bill is not politically motivated, despite the overwhelming evidence that it is.
This bill makes it clear that rigging the system to protect their own political gains is more important to Senate Republicans than ensuring the people of our state have fair access to seek legal recourse against the policies that have been shoved down their throats over the past several years,” stated Senator Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, during her floor rebuttal (See video at the end of this article).
Another bill introduced by Jones, Senate Bill 653, bears similar signs of partisan political maneuvers as it seeks to eliminate four circuit judges in Wayne County, one in the City of Pontiac, and one in Saginaw County that are all predominantly democratic voting areas while adding new positions in the republican dominated areas of Oakland, Macomb, and Kent Counties. This measure was also rushed through the Senate and is headed for the House, where it will undoubtedly be ushered in as quickly as possible.
In Michigan, if you don’t want to follow the law, you just get yourself elected to the legislature and change the law to ensure that you won’t be prosecuted or held accountable for your actions while in office.
Edited/Published by: JL