Democrats Gain Control of State Supreme Court

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- "You have dedicated your career to doing what is right," Governor Granholm said Thursday from the Romney Building.

With that, the 16-year tenure of state Supreme Court Justice Betty Weaver came to an end.

"I have concluded that I have done all that I can do as a justice," she said Thursday alongside Granholm at a press conference.

The lifelong Republican resigned, citing personal reasons.

In doing so, she delivered a blow to Republicans.

"The Democrats have already achieved one of their major objectives of this fall's campaign -- and that is to regain control of the state Supreme Court," said Bill Ballenger, a political expert and editor-in-chief of "Inside Michigan Politics."

Weaver recommended her own replacement to Granholm: Justice Alton Davis, a left-leaning judge from Northern Michigan.

"I will work diligently to make sure the people have a court that they are proud of," Davis said, standing next to both Granholm and Weaver.

Of course, his appointment is only temporary, as Weaver was up for re-election. But Deaver, come november, will have the power of incumbency.

"It dramatically enhances the chances the Democrats will be able to win at least one [of the two Supreme Court cases up for re-election in November]," Ballenger said.

That will have major implications for issues like re-districting. Jolly Road in Lansing, as an example, separates the 67th from 68th state House districts.

When the new government enters in 2011, they'll like try to re-draw those lines to give their party an advantage. A decision on those boundaries wcould fall to the state Supreme Court.

"I have never seen an occasion of re-districting when the state Supreme Court hasn't been the ultimate arbiter of what the map finally looks like," Ballenger said.

That's all assuming, of course, Davis gets the nod from the Democratic Party this weekend as their nominee -- though even Davis admits he'd be shocked if he doesn't.


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