The leftists are pushing a one sided snake oil package as reform. Their proposal is this.
Under the proposed constitutional amendment:
Two (2) seats on the Supreme Court would be eliminated. It targets those with the least seniority, Justices Young and Markman, both Republicans re-elected in recent years by overwhelming margins. They'd lose their jobs as of December 20, 2008.
That is a dealbreaker right there. We have the best Supreme Court in the Country.
All seven (7) Court of Appeals seats up for grabs in 2010 would also be eliminated as of this December, cutting short by two years the terms of previously elected judges. Six of the Court of Appeals judges being targeted are generally considered to be "GOP." The seventh, Helene White, has been nominated by President Bush to take a seat on the federal bench and will be moving on anyways.
That is another dealbreaker.
All judges would be subject to a pay cut beginning in 2009 that would reduce compensation to what the position garnered in the year 2000. Judges who took the bench before 1997 have their pensions calculated on their final salary. The paycut, in essence, would force these judges to chose between early retirement and significant long-term financial penalties. One judicial insider who spoke on condition of anonymity claims that in theory up to half the judgeships in the state could suddenly go vacant. While that could create major delays and case back logs it would also provide Jennifer Granholm with the ability, in one sweeping set of action, to appoint half the bench in the State of Michigan.
I'm not opposed to this offhand, but a lot of qualified judges would not take that job if they can make twice as much money in private practice. We can not lowball judges completely, even if I'm quite sympathetic.
The Judicial Tenure Commission would be rebuilt including an affirmative action provision mandating the makeup of reflect the population of the State of Michigan.
WTF do we need that for?
The House of Representatives would be reduced to eighty-two (82) members. The Senate to twenty-eight (28). New district lines would be drawn according to strange provisions requiring "competitive" apportionment. Half would be drawn with a majority Dem base, half with a majority GOP base while four (4) Senate seats and nine (9) House seats would be restricted to a maximum 53% base from either political party.
I can actually support this aspect if it was stand alone.
A new redistricting commission would be created with four (4) Democrats and four (4) Republicans and a ninth "non-partisan" member serving as chair. The ninth member would be selected by no fewer than six of the other eight members. If an agreement on the ninth cannot be reached each Party would submit a name and then toss a coin.
I do not support commissions. Computers should determine redistricting and take the bias and human element away from it.
The redistricting plans also require six of nine votes for passage. Without the requisite number each Party submits its own redistricting plan for approval of the "non-partisan" chair. The "non-partisan" chair who may actually be a Democrat selected by the flip of a coin. Once this "non-partisan" chair approves plans from each side another coin is tossed deciding district boundaries statewide.
See why I don't like the commissions. Be prepared for a lot of incumbent protection maps.
I'm not supporting this. Only one provision of this would possibly have my support, but giving judicial activist supporters like that nut Jon Stryker and Mark Brewer control of the courts by a back door method is beyond unacceptable.