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A few weekend links

by: ScottyUrb

Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 22:21:50 PM EDT

  • According to a statement on Mayor Dave Bing's Facbeook page:
    "Mayor Dave Bing underwent surgery today at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital to repair a perforation of the intestines. The surgery was performed successfully and the Mayor is resting comfortably. He is expected to remain in the hospital for five (5) to seven (7) days and undergo a full recovery. The Mayor will return to normal activities within three (3) weeks. However, he can resume limited administrative duties as early as tomorrow. I expect a faster than normal recovery due to Mayor Bing's spectacular physical health. He is in very good spirits." says Scott Dulchavsky M.D., PhD, Chair, Department of Surgery.
  • Congratulations to Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, whose efforts helped hold Fannie and Freddie accountable for cheating the people of Oakland County. The article points out that this could pave the way for Michigan's other 82 counties to take similar action. I would keep my eyes on Meisner - he may be a solid contender for our ticket in 2014!
  • Speaking of Oakland County, the question on everybody's mind is: Will the majority on the State Supreme Court follow the Constitution and preserve the County's original redistricting plan, or will they violate the Constitution? At first glance, one might expect them to side with Patterson. But if Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra vote against the Constitution, that could open them up to some election-year heat. We'll see.
  • Speaking of the Supreme Court, Jane Markey has jumped in the race for Supreme Court on the Republican side. The article mentions Bridget Mary MacCormack, but does not mention either of our other Democratic candidates, Connie Kelly or Shelia Johnson. The article also stresses that if elected, she'd be the first justice from West Michigan since the 1940s. I'd suggest we wait just two more years and see if Jane Beckering runs in 2014. Beckering, a well-respected Grand Rapids jurist and attorney, was one of our nominees in 2006 (the last election in which incumbency was an advantage).
  • The Michigan Democratic Party has announced locations for the May 5 presidential caucuses. We'll be voting for our Presidential contenders, and we'll also have a chance to learn about candidates for other offices. Note that you are assigned to a particular caucus location, depending on where you live. Check out the list, and mark your calendar for May 5!
  • This isn't Michigan-specific, but in case you missed it, this week an Ohio Republican congressman admitted that the Solyndra non-troversy is just that - little more than an attempt at discrediting the President and renewable energy.
  • Don't look now, but one William Grawn Milliken turns 90 this Monday! Happy Birthday, Governor Milliken!
ScottyUrb :: A few weekend links
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A few weekend links | 11 comments
Don't kid yourself
There is no respect for the Constitution from the GOP Supreme Court. They will side with L Brooks and simply deny that it is unconstitutional. Worse, we will have to listen to the Repubes brag about how they shoved it up our ass and we couldn't do a damned thing about it. Frank Houston made a compelling, accurate arguement for the Dems. I give us a 10% chance of justice and reason winning over partisianship. I will be glad to eat crow. But the fact is, the GOP is better at playing dirty while the Dems cry about " they're being mean to me!"

Assuming that does happen,
our best bet is going to be getting Johnson, Kelley, and McCormack on the Court. Then they will likely reverse the previous decision in time for 2014. Supreme Courts reverse themselves all the time - even here in Michigan.

One wonders if Markman and Zahra are worried about this election, though. The last thing they want to be accused of is violating the Constitution. Then again, they've already done a lot they probably wouldn't want to be associated with.

This campaign will be our best opportunity in years to highlight just how corrupt the Supreme Court is. If people get a bad impression of the Supreme Court, will they vote for the incumbents?

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
I don't know
Some cases they decide conceivably have a way in which to interpret them and still make it look legal.  This one is so clear cut that even I'd be surprised if they if they let this by.

I honestly want to see how they are going to pretend that a local act doesn't need a two-thirds majority in both houses to pass.  Anyone have any inkling as to how this is being argued from the Republians side?  The only argument I've seen (the redistricting will save the county money) is completely irrelevant to whether it is legal or not.

[ Parent ]
I think they tried to describe Oakland in general terms.
You just need to pick a description of a set, which turns out to have only one member.  But it's best if the description at least pretends to have something in common with the "problem" you're supposedly addressing.

It's easy to specify Wayne County, for example, by pretending that size of the population requires a different system of government or whatever.  Of course, as we've seen with Detroit, using a fixed population minimum to trigger a provision may not work in the long run.

The wrong way to create such a one member set is to invoke something that only happens to be true at this moment:  "This provision shall apply to any county with an elected County Executive who weighs over 250 pounds."

Far better:  "... to any county which contains in excess of fifty townships and cities".  (Oakland has 52, in second place Wayne has 44.)  It wouldn't be hard for a judge of ordinary dishonesty to convince themself that having so many independent units of government demands a method of drawing commissioner districts which is more sensitive to local communities or something.

[ Parent ]
That's still
That's still irrelevant (the last arguement in the last paragraph) to the suit.  This isn't a question of "what kind of government should Oakland County have/what kind of government if most efficient for Oakland County?"  That's an entirely seperate question to be decided by the people of Oakland County if they are ever so inclined to take it up.  

This case seems painfully clear, and that's whether or not the law was written to apply to a single county?  If that is the case, it needs a two-thirds majority to pass, which would make the bill unconstitutional.  Again, I haven't seen a single argument by their side that addresses the actual lawsuit.  

[ Parent ]
I'm trying to talk about the legal situation.
The Supremes (by which I mean the four Republicans) will do what they can to uphold Brooks and his power grab.  But the Court needs a peg on which to hang its hat.  That's not a very high standard - lots of things will suffice to hold a hat.

But the general standard is that a bill is "local" if it could only apply to specific units of government, unless that special application makes some sort of plausible public policy sense.  My proposed distinction (which the Republicans in the legislature overlooked, but is a pretty neat way to refer to Oakland County) would pass muster almost automatically.

The one actually used smells bad.

Even worse are the use of typologies based on how many letters there are in the name of the county, or what words it rhymes with.

[ Parent ]
The use of general terms
The Michigan statutes are filled with provisions which apply on to the City of Detroit.  One example is that Detroit may levy a higher income tax than may other cities.  When I worked for the legislature, in the 1970s, these provisions were written to apply only to 'cities with populations of over 1,000,000.'  The phrase 'city of Detroit' occurs nowhere in any of these Detroit-only statutes. Obviously the population figures have been updated since.

The Oakland redistricting statute similarly does not contain the phrase 'Oakland County.'  It contains some convoluted description that describes only Oakland County.  The point is that such a description can pass and has passed muster legally under the right circumstances.

Multitasking; ... Michigan statutes are filled with provisions only to the City of Detroit....

[ Parent ]
Are these?
I'm well aware of these acts that apply specifically to Detroit because of how they are written.  The question isn't whether laws written for specific jurisidictions are legal.  Of course you can write local acts.  My question (and the question of this case) is if these acts have been passed by the two-thirds majority in both houses as required by the constitution for local acts.

I honestly am not sure what some of you aren't getting about the issue, here.

[ Parent ]
"Local" acts versus "Public" acts
The reason the statutes applying to Detroit only refer to it indirectly (as "any City of over 500,000 population" for example) is precisely to evade the restrictions in Michigan's Constitution on the adoption of local acts.

We NEVER see local acts any more - it's probably been over 50 years since we've seen one.

Back before "home rule", Michigan cities had so few powers that whenever they needed something done, they asked the legislature, which would then adopt the necessary local act, which might be as specific as permitting the City of Grayling to establish a pension fund for its employees.

The only remaining evidence of this lost world is the effort spent evading the requirement that such local acts (which no longer exist) be adopted by a 2/3 vote.  It's kind of like repaving a sidewalk to continue swerving around a tree that was removed 20 years ago.  Along comes a crew to repave the walkway, and they assume the swooping path is some sacred tradition, to be followed without stopping to wonder.

[ Parent ]
A few weekend links | 11 comments

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