Davis appointed to MSC; a political windfall for Dems

Justice Alton T. Davis

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Alton T. Davis

There’s a lot to be said about Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s appointment of Alton T. Davis to the Michigan Supreme Court following yesterday’s surprise resignation of Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver.

He’s an experienced jurist with a 26-year career under his belt, the last five on the Michigan Court of Appeals. A list of his professional associations is long and impressive.

His opinions, in my view, are fair, open-minded and well-written. He knows how to turn a phrase, when needed, to make his point.

He looks judicial, and, it’s being said, he may have a calming influence on a sometimes braying and brawling Michigan Supreme Court.

The bench, bar and Michigan citizens should be well-served.

On the political side, if you’re a Democrat, you’re probably weeping with joy over this turn of events.

If you’re a Republican, no amount of rubbing will ease the pain in your eye caused by the sharp stick Weaver just poked into it.

With Davis’ appointment, Democrats have, at least for the moment, a 4-3 majority on the MSC.

Davis will serve the remainder of Weaver’s term, which expires at the end of the year. It’s a cinch that he’ll emerge from the Democratic Party’s nominating convention this weekend as a candidate for his own, eight-year term.

If so, he’ll have that all-important “Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court” designation on the November ballot. The incumbency designation is huge: historically, very few sitting judges lose at the polls.

The Republicans, still smarting from a notable exception to this truism — Cliff Taylor’s defeat in 2008 — will do their best to blunt Davis’ advantage. They lost no time yesterday labeling Davis as a “politician in a robe” and a “partisan hack.”

The Democrats, hoping to go two-for-two in knocking off sitting MSC justices, have been flinging mud at Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. since April, on the well-founded assumption that he’ll be selected at the Republican Party nominating convention, also being held this weekend.

Both parties’ judicial slates for the “non-partisan” judicial ballot will be in place soon.

Get ready for another ugly campaign season.

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