Bench Memos

The End of Michigan’s Short Experiment in Liberal Judicial Activism

As I mentioned on Monday, this election cycle presented Michigan voters with an opportunity to change the direction of the Michigan Supreme Court, which was once considered one of the best courts in the nation. An extremely talented and hard-working majority of justices set an example for judges across the country by writing clear and persuasive opinions that adhered to traditional legal theories, and a number of the precedents handed down by that court were relied upon by other state supreme courts.

That all changed in 2008 when the defeat of Chief Justice Cliff Taylor gave liberal judicial activists a 4–3 majority.

But yesterday, the people of Michigan made it clear that they are done with their state’s short experiment in liberal judicial activism when they elected to return judicial conservatives to the majority. Justices Robert Young and Mary Beth Kelly won their races despite the tawdry campaigns that the trial lawyers and Democrats ran against them. Young and Kelly join two other members of the Federalist Society, Justices Stephen Markman and Maura Corrigan, on what should once again be a very formidable court.

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