Thursday, October 13, 2005

Finest Court in the Nation

This blue state does have one thing in its favor, and that would be our Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal has a nice report on the strict constructionalists on our bench.

From the WSJ

MIDLAND, Mich.--Among the people recently mentioned as potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, Maura Corrigan and Robert Young were relatively unknown. But both are noteworthy representatives of what may be the finest court in the nation.

For the past six years, the Michigan Supreme Court has been a leader in attempting to restore a proper balance between the judiciary, the legislature and the people. The bloc that constitutes the court's frequent majority--Justices Clifford Taylor, Stephen Markman, Corrigan, Young and, often, Elizabeth Weaver--has consistently refused to substitute its policy preferences for those of the legislature. Importantly, the court's other justices, Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly, have joined the majority in key cases. But the court's "judicial restraint" has not implied passivity. All of the justices have been willing to rule out-of-bounds legislation that encroaches on individual rights protected by the state constitution.

One major SCOTUS decision that brought scorn from both the left and the right was the Kelo case involving eminent domain. Years ago, Michigan had it's own case on this. The City of Detroit demolished a Polish neighborhood to put in a General Motors plant (now closed down). This was allowed by the court back then. Recently, The Michigan Supreme Court overruled Poletown.

Kelo has touched off a political and legal storm. Strikingly, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously held a year ago, in Wayne County v. Hathcock, that courts were constitutionally required to determine independently whether a taking involved a public use. The court further ruled that equating economic development with a "public use" would "render impotent our constitutional limitations on the government's power of eminent domain." Justice Young explained that, "after all, if one's ownership of private property is forever subject to the government's determination that another private party would put one's land to better use, then the ownership of real property is perpetually threatened by the expansion plans of any large discount retailer, 'megastore,' or the like."

Markman, Taylor, Young, and Corrigan are model justices that should be the model of which judges should follow.

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