Gov. Snyder to Appoint New Supreme Court Justice

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Four years ago, Diane Hathaway was sworn in as a Michigan Supreme Court justice in what some call a historic win for Michigan Democrats.

"She knocked off the chief justice of the supreme court. It's the only time in history a chief justice has been defeated for re-election," said political analyst Bill Ballenger.

Now it seems everything is getting undone in the midst of a federal lawsuit against Justice Hathaway.

"Whoever the governor might appoint, she or he will be reasoned, thoughtful, a rule of law judge and someone with a strong integrity," said Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Attorney General Schuette offered nothing further, but Ballenger says Gov. Snyder will more than likely send a 5th Republican justice to the Supreme Court.

"He would infuriate his Republican party if he didn't appoint somebody who is considered to be a Republican or a conservative," Ballenger said.

The election for justices is non-partisan, but analysts say controversial issues often run along party lines, including some that could find its way into the Supreme Court.

"Ballot proposals, things that the legislature did in the lame duck session in December which are very controversial like Right to Work, medical marijuana," Ballenger said.

As the court of last resort., the decision made by the justices can have lasting impact.

"If one party controls that court 5 to 2, chances are whatever decision that court makes is going to be the standing decision maybe for the rest of history," said Ballenger.

Three justice seats will appear on the November ballot next year. Whoever Gov. Snyder appoints will have to be re-elected to serve out Justice Hathaway's term which ends in 2016. Democrats must win all three seats to regain control of the court.


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