May God bless this nation on this special day and every other. Please.
One of the most precious pledges of this land is our stated intent to live under the rule of law, fairly intended and administered. It is this rule of law that gives us some assurance that we will not be mere pawns in the machinations of the powerful. The individual in this land has–in theory–paramount consideration under law.
So, while we celebrate our nation’s birthday, we also give pause to consider the relief from tyranny of Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver (retired). She was the target of disciplinary and punitive efforts by at least one of her former colleagues, Justice Maura D. Corrigan (retired). Justice Corrigan most recently sent her to the Attorney Grievance Commission. If you’ll look back through the posts on this site you’ll see the unfolding story, fully open to your scrutiny.
The result? This past week the AGC wrote to justices Corrigan and Weaver that there was no cause of action. Here’s the letter:
All along Justice Weaver has been describing this as a baseless complaint and a tyranny. Further, she has said, the AGC didn’t even have authority in the matter.
Here is the complaint that Justice Weaver first received this spring in this most recent matter.
You’ll note that it is dated April 28, 2010, and is the SAME complaint that had been filed by justices Corrigan, Steven Markman, and now-chief Justice Robert Preston Young, Jr., with both the AGC and the Judicial Tenure Commission April 28, 2010. That complaint was dismissed by the JTC last summer.
In a phone interview we learned from AGC Grievance Administrator Robert Agacinski that when the April 28, 2010, complaint was activated Justices Markman and Young decided not to join in. (The AGC checks to make sure complainants still want to act, Mr. Agacinski said, when it processes a complaint.) Only Justice Corrigan wanted to go forward. And remember, by March 15 she was well well away from the Supreme Court and ensconced in her new labors as director of the Department of Human Services.
At the time it seemed that the complaint had just been sitting around at the AGC since 2010 and the AGC had just decided to take it up.
But maybe not, because we now know something from the most recent letter dismissing the complaint: that complaint was filed by Corrigan March 15th of this year.
Now, where is the March 15, 2011, written complaint?
The AGC stipulates that in order to be accepted, complaints must come in physical form. Here’s the language:
Anyone may file a Request for Investigation against an attorney licensed by the State Bar of Michigan, or otherwise permitted by a court to practice in the state, by completing and signing the AGC’s Request for Investigation form or by sending in a signed letter. THE FORM OR LETTER MUST BE SIGNED AND SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBE THE ALLEGED MISCONDUCT (INCLUDING APPROXIMATE TIME AND PLACE). The Request for Investigation may include copies of any relevant documents or transcripts. A Request for Investigation must contain an original signature therefore, Requests for Investigation are not accepted electronically or by facsimile.
So, where’s the copy of the March 15, 2011, complaint the most recent AGC letter references? Justice Weaver says she hasn’t seen it…just the recycled April 28, 2010, letter, the one signed by the three justices.
Is it remotely possible Justice Corrigan simply phoned it in? Is there some other explanation?
That’s something that would be good to find out.
And, what about the motivation behind the complaint? That complaint had early on been dismissed by the JTC and it had no business being put before the AGC. A learned and intelligent supreme court justice should recognize that. Is this an effort to stir up trouble for Justice Weaver? (In one sense it caused more than enough trouble…it takes time and effort to answer baseless accusations.) Is this a payback? After all, both justices were off the court, there was nothing pending or impending before them. But there had been bad blood, at least bad blood on the part of Justice Corrigan: she had expressed her outrage on several occasions that Justice Weaver would dare to speak about decisions made at the high court after matters there had been concluded. Justice Corrigan was a part of the majority force that passed a gag order to silence communication about what happens at the court. That gag order flies in the face of the Michigan Constitution and the Code of Judicial Conduct that says Justice WILL explain their actions.
In the end, though, all the turmoil with the AGC redounds upon the originator: Maura D. Corrigan. She looks less learned and intelligent, certainly less wise. She looks like she’s seeking revenge.
All along I have been asking if this apparent desire for vengeance is in the nature of the character of Maura D. Corrigan. I don’t know. But were I Governor Rick Snyder I would want to keep a close eye on an appointee who might have a penchant for settling scores. That can cause troubles when and where you least expect or want them.