Michigan Supreme Court

Republican opponents of Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission are back in court.

The Michigan Supreme Court says a judge sentencing a defendant for a criminal matter cannot base the sentence on crimes the defendant was acquitted of.

Lawyers from the state Attorney General’s Office will be in front of the Michigan Supreme Court Wednesday. The twist? They’ll be arguing both sides of the same issue.

The Michigan Supreme Court is unsure if it can weigh in on the method used to change Michigan’s minimum wage and earned sick time laws, and it wants Attorney General Dana Nessel to weigh in.

People elected to tribal offices are exempt from a portion of the constitution that involves who can run for state and local offices. The Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion Monday.

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Anti-abortion groups will soon be on sidewalks and at events around the state, asking voters to support ballot measures that would restrict abortion in Michigan.

Public school advocates and the ACLU of Michigan want the Michigan Supreme Court to take their case. They want the court to reverse a decision that lets the state give public money to private schools in certain cases.

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether police officers illegally searched the backpack of a passenger in a stopped vehicle. The passenger says officers should have first asked his permission.

Larry Mead was riding in a vehicle stopped for an expired plate. The driver gave permission for police to search the vehicle, where Mead left his backpack. The officers found methamphetamine in the backpack.

A fight between school employees and the state ended today – in favor of the employees.

The state took money from their paychecks between 2010 and 2012. That was after a law was passed allowing the state to take three percent of their pay for retiree health care costs. The Michigan Supreme Court said the law was unconstitutional, but that didn’t resolve the question of what to do about the money, some 550 million dollars, that had already been handed over to the state.

The Michigan Supreme Court has awarded more than three million dollars in grants to circuit courts across the state.

It’s to help pay for the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, an intense probation supervision program in the state. The program is for high-risk, felony offenders who have a history of violating the rules of their probation. It offers specialized and structured help so they can finish their probation successfully – and stay out of trouble.

The Michigan Supreme Court says religious schools cannot claim a blanket exemption from being sued for violating anti-discrimination laws.

A family sued a Catholic high school in Oakland County. They say the school violated an anti-discrimination law by refusing to admit their daughter because of a learning disability. Among other things, the school argued its operations are protected by religious freedom rights.

Governor Rick Snyder has chosen the newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Judge Kurtis Wilder is the first of a couple appointments Governor Snyder has to make in the coming weeks. He will replace Justice Robert Young who retired from the court in April to return to his former law firm, Dickenson Wright.

Wilder is a former Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court. He currently serves on the state Court of Appeals.

Governor Snyder said Wilder has already done great work to help the state.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been chosen by President Trump to serve on the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Trump once put Larsen on his list of judges and lawyers he would consider naming to the US Supreme Court.

Village of Kalkaska

The Michigan Supreme Court says Kalkaska Village will have to pay nearly $200,000 to a former employee.

Former clerk Virginia Thomas sued when the village council stopped paying her health benefits in 2014. Thomas said a 20-year-old letter promised lifetime health benefits for her and three other employees. A jury and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Thomas’s favor, and the state Supreme Court upheld those rulings this week.

The old spiritual “Kumbaya” is a song of congregation and harmony. And it’s for this reason that the Michigan Supreme Court has earned the tag “The Kumbaya Court” from court-watchers due to an increase in the number of cases decided unanimously.

Through the 2015-2016 term, 81% of arguments held before the court have been unanimous decisions. In the previous two terms, only a little more than 50% of cases were decided unanimously.

 

Why the sudden rise in unanimous decisions?

Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver passed away Tuesday night at her home in Glen Arbor. She was 74. Weaver served on the state’s highest court for 15 years, until her resignation in 2010.

Weaver came to Leelanau County from her native New Orleans shortly after receiving her law degree from Tulane University.

In a 2005 interview with IPR, she talked about settling in Glen Arbor.

Friends, family remember 'problem-solver' Robert Griffin

Apr 21, 2015
Aaron Selbig

Former U.S. Senator Robert Griffin passed away Friday in Traverse City. He was 91. Griffin served Michigan for 17 years in the House of Representatives and the U.S Senate. He was also a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court.

His funeral was held Tuesday afternoon in Traverse City. IPR’s Aaron Selbig attended the funeral and spoke with Linda Stephan about the man behind the public face.

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide later this year whether the right-to-work law applies to state employee unions. The court just heard the legal challenge to the law filed by state employee unions. They say the state civil service authority supersedes the law adopted by the Legislature in 2012.

William Weirtheimer is a union attorney. He says it’s in the Michigan Constitution – the state Civil Service Commission is in charge of civil service workers.

In 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided 52 cases, dealt with judicial misconduct, and endured another contentious election cycle.

But despite widespread perception of the court as a politically-driven institution split along ideological lines, things behind the scenes are actually quite “collegial and high-functioning,” according to Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide next year whether the state’s right-to-work law applies to unionized civil service employees.

Four unions representing 35,000 state civil service workers filed the challenge. They say the right-to-work law does not apply to them because of the Michigan Constitution and the independent authority it gives the civil service system.

The Michigan Supreme Court says felons sentenced as juveniles to life without parole won’t get new sentences. That’s despite a US Supreme Court ruling that says it’s cruel and unusual punishment.

Tim Pearce/Flickr

A group of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys goes to work Thursday on finding new and better ways to collect fines and fees from defendants, and to ensure that people are not sent to jail because they don’t have the money to pay.       

An NPR investigation identified Michigan as one of the states where judges sometimes send defendants to jail for failure to pay – even when that’s not because they won’t pay, but they can’t. The US Supreme Court has said that’s unconstitutional.

Life without parole used to be the automatic sentence for juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder. That was until June of 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that automatic life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional. But a question here in Michigan remains – what happens to more than 350 juvenile lifers here who were sent to prison before the decision? Thursday the state Supreme Court hears arguments on that question.

‘Rush To Be A Man’

State of Michigan

Former Michigan Governor William Milliken, of Traverse City, says more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles deserve a chance at freedom. Milliken – along with more than 100 law school deans and retired judges and prosecutors -- filed a brief today with the state Supreme Court.

"Right To Work" Bill For Lawyers Delayed

Feb 14, 2014

State lawmakers are holding off on a bill that would allow attorneys to end their membership with the State Bar of Michigan. That’s while a state Supreme Court task force reviews whether mandatory State Bar membership is appropriate.

Some are calling Senate Bill 743 a “right to work” bill for lawyers.

The sponsor of the legislation is applauding the court’s decision to weigh in.

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