In a move that has taken many, including ME, by surprise, the Michigan Supreme Court handed down a decision this morning (pdf) denying Rep. Paul Scott’s request for a preliminary injunction meaning that his recall is back on for the November 2011 ballot.
As I wrote yesterday, the Michigan Court of Appeals had put an injunction in place on the recall petitions until Scott’s appeal of the petition language could be considered. Due to time constraints, this essentially made a 2011 recall null and void. However, the Supreme Court today smacked down Paul’s defense and denied his injunction. They basically told Scott that if he was going to pursue something like this, he should have gone to the Supreme Court first rather than dragging it out through the lower courts.
In a different election controversy 40 years ago, this Court recognized the practical problems that can arise when legal issues are brought to the appellate courts too close to the election day. In an effort to achieve “better timing of appeals to the judicial process,” this Court suggested that appellate review of election-related legal issues would be facilitated if the party seeking review filed its papers “in this Court,” despite the absence of an explicit rule authorizing the same. Carman v Secretary of State, 384 Mich 443, 449 (1971). In this regard, MCR 7.302(C)(1)(b) now authorizes the filing of an application for leave to appeal in this Court prior to a decision by the Court of Appeals after an application for leave to appeal has been filed in the Court of Appeals. We encourage future litigants in election disputes to avail themselves of this provision, where appropriate.
A heartening and, to my mind, quite surprising turn of events. I commend the Supreme Court for their unanimous 7-0 ruling.
Adding…I just want to add that this is HUGELY BFD. The Michigan Supreme Court is heavily Republican. Not only that, this recall is against the most anti-teacher/teachers’ union Representative in Michigan. He’s so bad that the Michigan Education Association got involved with this recall. Organizers had only two weeks to collect nearly 10,000 signatures and they did. In fact, they collected more than they needed: 12,350.
Now the real work begins convincing his district’s voters to vote to recall him. Want to volunteer? Hook up with the recall organizers at their Facebook page HERE.
UPDATE: This post has been updated HERE.