Michigan GOP appeals ruling preventing them from violating the state constitution


Constitution schmonstitution, part eleventy billion

When I wrote about Michigan Republicans being put under a restraining order to keep them from violating the state constitution a few days ago, I wrote, “It will be interesting to see if the Republicans are so intent on betraying the state constitution that they appeal to the appeals court.”

Turns out they ARE and they have.

Not only that, they are being represented by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Republicans in the state House have asked the state Court of Appeals to strike down an injunction issued earlier this week that impaired their authority to give immediate effect to legislation and nullified immediate effect for several recently approved statutes, including one that blocked the unionization of university graduate assistants. […]

In the appeal filed by Attorney General Bill Schuette, Republicans argue that Canady’s order was an impermissible judicial intrusion on legislative authority. The Constitution, long-standing tradition and prior court rulings give the House nearly unfettered discretion to operate by their own rules, according to documents filed with the appeals court.

According to MLive, “House Republicans called the lawsuit ‘frivolous’ and an ‘attack on the constitutional autonomy” of the House.’ The comical part is House Speaker Jase Bolger’s commentary (via his spokesperson Ari Adler):

Last week’s ruling in Ingham County Circuit Court was an overreach of judicial authority into the day-to-day operations of a co-equal and independent branch of government, which is why we have sought to have it overturned.

The Speaker believes the attorney general has made a compelling argument to help us right the wrong imposed on the Michigan Legislature and the constituents we represent.

The idea that forcing the GOP to obey the rules is somehow an “overreach” is positively absurd. Like laugh-in-your-face absurd, actually. In order for a law to take “immediate effect”, it has to receive 2/3 of the vote of the House. Here’s the rub: Republicans do not make up 2/3 of the House. And Democrats are not voting with them. That’s why they are doing the voice vote rather than the roll call vote; they’d never get it passed otherwise.

Again from MLive:

Two-thirds of the House must support giving it immediate effect, but Republicans do not comprise 2/3 of the chamber. House Democrats argued that House Republicans violated the state Constitution, which requires a “record of the vote and name of the members of either house voting on any question shall be entered in the journal” if 20 percent of the House requests such a vote.

The Democrats are, as you might expect, outraged. House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel issued the following statement:

That House Republicans have filed an appeal is not a surprise, but their spokesperson characterizing Judge Canady’s order protecting the constitutional rights of Michigan citizens as judicial overreach is quite surprising. Although, it does come from the same person who has said – even before the appeal was filed – that the Judge’s order would not change anything about the way the House operates. I would have thought he would show more respect for the judicial process.

My caucus has worked through every avenue to get the majority to recognize the rights of our constituents to fair representation under the Michigan Constitution. Again, it is unfortunate that it has taken legal action to get us to this point. If the leadership of the House is concerned about the cost of this matter, they can just agree to follow the constitution and the suit goes away, or they can follow our lead and finance their defense without the use of state dollars.

The other night when Rachel Maddow talked about this, she called Michigan’s Republican problem “epic”. I’m inclined to agree.

  • Marty Townsend

    I thought the role of the AG was to be the “lawyer for the people”? By filing on behalf of the GOP, is he really keeping the best interests of “the people” in mind. Our elected officials need to start remembering who put them in their positions. We, as voters, need to make sure that we remember all these actions “against the people” when it comes time to cast votes. Bill Shuette should NOT be filing anything on behalf of either party – he works for US, not them.

    • Tmcmistress

       The AG is actually the legal representative for the government, so in the strictest sense, what you’re saying isn’t true.  That doesn’t make Schuette’s actions in this case less abhorrent, however.

      • kansas93

        My problem with that is that democrats and republicans are BOTH part of the US government, therefore the attorney general cannot and should not be representing either party- and in this specific instance the ag should be representing the constitution, or the court ruling, if involved in any way.

      • CharlieRedWing

        I seem to remember an AG who served this State under Democrat and Republican control of the govenorship and the legistlature, his name was Kelly and he represented “The people of Michigan”, not “the government”.  This is not the federal government where the AG is appointed by the Pres. or in this case the Govenor or as it appears “The King”. 

      • kirke123

        no way. the ag cannot represent a division he can only protect the constitution, which is the people.

  • CB_Demented

    Kind of ironic…that’s pretty much the same argument Obama had in the ACA case.

  • JoJothecat

    I just saw the Rachel Maddow show tonight and this, It was her last segment of the show.  I know that the Republican Gov was steam rolling legislation and dismantling democratically elected cities, towns, school boards and appointing a Dictator-Manager, but I did not know it was done illegally.  If you ever get Michigan away from the fist of the Republicans, a law should be made that any legislator that violates the States Constitution will be tried for teason.   This is criminal.

    • cryingliberty

      The Barry Goldwater quote that was offered up here awhile back about hyper-religious politicians getting control of the party seems rather apt given the climate.

      It seems that the legislature believes that it’s acting on a mandate from God and that nothing, not even “rules” like the state constitution, should get in their way.

    • and they should ALL be thrown out of office, including Snyder, because you know he knew about this too.

    • Wildsongcybil


  • Rob San Diego

    Rick Snyder rolls back democracy in Michigan back to the stone age.  The message from the Michigan GOP to their people is “YOU DON’T MATTER! GOP SPECIAL INTERESTS DO” This is what happens when a fringe political party is out of control.  Who would have thought that the Republican party would be setting up Tyranny and suppressing democratic procedure in a Worker state like Michigan!  When the people let corrupt politicians off the hook, we get severed from democracy. This happens in Michigan, it can happen in the rest our Union.  Vote the RepubliCONS out of office! They serve themselves no the people.

    • cryingliberty

      I don’t think this is as much corrupt politicians as it is flat-out zealotry. Yes, there’s a major problem with corruption, but I think a lot of it is that these people genuinely believe they’re doing the right thing and seem to believe that they have some kind of mandate from on high to do what they’re doing. 

    • Oscodaartist

      And please use the power you have as a citizen to help recall Snyder and his cronies. This is seriously about something way bigger than just Michigan, as Rob San Diego mentioned, the republicans are setting a precedent in this state and if we don’t stop them here, there is a good chance the entire country will pay the price in the long run.

  • Pingback: Michigan Republicans have ILLEGALLY passed over 96% of their bills under “immediate effect” | Eclectablog()

  • Grumpy Old Man

    The Repugs have set up a fascist totalitarian gov’t in MI.  We have seen Hitler and Mussolini reincarnated, all we need now are the brown shirted, bootjacked thugs roaming the streets.

  • Votekeeper

    We need a list of those 546 invalid laws, so everyone knows they do not have to obey or comply with any of them. Starting with all the Snydely-appointed financial dictators.

  • mannapat

    The GOP is interested in one thing – POWER.  They took more power than they legally had.  However, I’d like to point out that the Democrats in the legislature, should have known what is in the Michigan Constitution (or looked it up) AND they can count, I’m sure.  But they didn’t.  (Neither did the so-called “liberal” media.)  And a YEAR later, they finally wake up.  This whole thing is totally disgusting, and every one of those “laws” MUST be ignored, as they are NOT legally laws.

    A real-life lesson for Democrats:  When a Mom tells her kid, “No, you can’t have a cookie.”  And the child looks right at her and takes a cookie anyway, If nothing happens, then he’ll take another cookie, and another till the cookie jar is empty.

  • kirke123

    criminal is right! now it is time for the ag to step in and protect the constitution. and if this is not possible, then the federal courts must step in and protect the citizens of michigan. and then some people neeed to go to jail for treason.