Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 4 — October 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Markman refuses to recuse himself in EM case


Last month, I wrote about how Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman was being asked to recuse himself from the suit challenging the constitutionality of the Emergency Manager Law.

Lawyers fighting Michigan’s tough new emergency manager law want a Michigan Supreme Court justice to recuse himself from the case because his wife represents the government in a separate lawsuit challenging the same law.

Lawyers from the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice said in a brief filed Wednesday that Justice Stephen Markman should recuse himself from their challenge of the emergency manager law’s constitutionality, which Gov. Rick Snyder wants sent directly to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Markman’s wife, Kathleen, who works for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, is one of two lawyers representing state officials in a federal lawsuit in which a city of Detroit pension fund alleges the emergency manager law is unconstitutional.

A recusal by Markman would be significant because it would erase the 4-3 majority on the court held by justices nominated by the Michigan Republican Party.

Well, he’s not. Why not? Because, as I predicted, it was his wife that did the self-recusing.

Lawyers challenging the [Emergency Manager] law on behalf of a group of citizens asked Justice Stephen Markman to disqualify himself from hearing the case because Markman’s wife, Kathleen, represented the state attorney general’s office in a separate challenge to the law in federal court in Detroit.

They said a judge should recuse himself if his wife has more than a minimal interest in the case.

In an order issued Friday, Markman denied the request.

He said his wife has no involvement in the state court case and removed herself from the federal court case after the issue was raised.

“There is nothing … that causes me to believe that I cannot be fair-minded and even-handed in my exercise of judgment in deciding the constitutional issues involved.

When I wrote about it before, I asked “Anyone wanna bet me that Kathleen Markman is the one who will end up recusing herself? I’d lay money on that. That’s how the GOP rolls, right?”

I’ll bet you’re’ all glad you didn’t take my bet.