October 22, 2008

NOTE: THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEETING REFERENCED IN THIS POST HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Oh, my! I’ve just seen the latest supreme court ad against Chief Justice Cliff Taylor. The charge in the ad is that he napped during oral arguments in a case involving the fire death of young children. The Democrats use a re-enactment to show a nodding judge, ostensibly Justice Taylor. They identify it as a dramatization. But still…. The Republicans say they are incensed. They swear that he didn’t do such a thing. They say that Geoffrey Feiger was in the court and HE of all people would have made note of such an event. I’m thinking that’s so. If anyone is curious if such a thing could be there are recordings of the sessions, but they may not show a close up of a nodding Justice, especially if the cameras are switched to show one of the attorneys arguing before the Justices. This leaves the Republicans with proving a negative…how do you prove something didn’t happen? …At least once? Good luck. It’s a dirty trick and smacks of the desperation the Democrats are facing.

Why? There are so many substantive and easily verifiable matters with which they could contend with Justice Taylor: the Judge Jennifer Faunce matter in the 37th District Court, the Judge Pam Gilbert O’Sullivan matter in Macomb County Probate Court, the Probate Judge Patty Gardner matter in Kent County. Each of them has suffered at the hands of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Then there’s the gag order that flies smack dab into the consititutional duties of the Justices. And there are plenty of other issues large and small.

To that end the House Judiciary Committee is meeting tomorrow morning in the House Building at 9 a.m. and it has invited both Chief Justice Taylor and Justice Elizabeth Weaver to come and talk about issues of transparency at the court. I understand Justice Taylor will not be attending; he’s too busy, says his campaign manager, and sees this for a political event to attempt to discredit him. Well, the timing is unhandy but the Judge Faunce matter was recent. And I misdoubt that the committee is all Democrats. So, we’ll see what we see.

For now I urge the Democrats to pull what smacks of an unfair ad from the media-television, radio, and internet. There’s plenty to contend with but it’s unnecessary and purely partisan to make and sanction ads like this. This won’t help make the situation better.

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