Responding to a recent Lansing State Journal editorial, see MSC: ‘throroughly politicized’, former MSC Justice Elizabeth Weaver took to the LSJ’s editorial page this morning, touting a six-point plan concerning MSC elections and appointments:
1. No political party nominations. Supreme Court candidates would earn a spot on the ballot by petition – the same as other Michigan judges.
2. Election (not appointments) by district. The state should be divided into seven Supreme Court election districts, one justice coming from each, to allow the geographic diversity now clearly absent.
3. Public funding. Using tax check-off money designated for gubernatorial campaigns for Supreme Court campaigns.
4. Transparency and accountability in campaign finance reporting requirements. No secret or unnamed contributors and 48-hour reporting.
5. Term limits to achieve rotation. Only one term of a maximum of 14 years, and a justice never would be eligible for reelection or appointment.
6. For appointments, establish a Qualifications Commission composed of all stakeholders in the justice system.
Weaver’s opinion piece then fleshes out some of the details.
Weaver also says more sun needs to shine on the high court:
[W]e could enact all the reforms I’ve suggested but they will have little effect unless and until we can open our Supreme Court inner workings to public scrutiny.
Unnecessary secrecy, another issue for another day.