Dec 18, 2006
If we needed another example of the Republicans drive to conduct the people’s business in secret behind closed, locked doors we have this example from Free Press Columnist Brian Dickerson. This time it’s the dignified and stogy Michigan Supreme Court. It proves politics is politics even if you wear a black robe. No wonder we were all scared in 2000 with the refrain “Markman, Taylor and Young, Oh my.”
Now a Republican justice's threat to disclose embarrassing internal discussions and correspondence has sparked a crisis, with the other GOP justices threatening disciplinary action if the court's tradition of deliberative confidentiality is violated.
Justice Elizabeth Weaver has been the state Supreme Court's odd woman out since 2001, when all six of her colleagues voted to depose her as chief justice.
Relations between Weaver and the other GOP justices seemed to reach a nadir in August, when Weaver opined that fellow Republicans Clifford Taylor, Maura Corrigan, Robert Young Jr. and Stephen Markman should be disqualified from hearing a disciplinary complaint against Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger.
In a scathingly sarcastic response, Taylor defended the majority's impartiality and suggested that Weaver was simply venting "personal resentment" over her 5-year-old ouster.
But an emergency administrative order issued last week suggests that resentment on both sides is still smoldering.
The order decrees that "effective immediately," all "correspondence, memoranda and discussions regarding cases or controversies" before the court "are confidential," and that "this obligation to honor confidentiality does not expire when a case is decided."