Michigan elects its appellate court judges from each of four geographical districts, centered on Detroit, Troy, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. Now the State’s government is playing games with that process. Judge Donald Owens, of the Lansing district, intends to resign just before his term expires.
A Michigan appeals court judge is resigning four hours before his term expires on 1 January, allowing Governor Rick Snyder to pick a replacement.
No special election will occur; this will not be a particularly temporary appointment. The appointed judge will serve until the next general election in the State.
The move might be convenient to Conservatism (Snyder is a Republican, which makes him conservative relative to the State he governs), this time, but only this time, this short-term time. The move sets an ugly example, however. We can argue the merits of elected judges vs nominated and legislatively confirmed or rejected judges, but the Michigan law is quite clear in its intent. This move is nothing more than a naked attempt to circumvent Michigan’s law, the will of Michigan citizens as expressed by their elected representatives having passed this law, and the will of Michigan citizens as expressed by their election of their judges.