MSC censures former Justice Weaver for airing deliberations

From the Associated Press:

DETROIT (AP) — Five members of the Michigan Supreme Court have rebuked a former justice who secretly recorded internal discussions and released a transcript during the election season to show that a justice had used the N-word in 2006.

"It is truly a sad day when this Court is forced to censure a former colleague," the justices said in a Nov. 17 letter to Elizabeth Weaver.

"None of your fellow Justices was aware that you were tape recording our private deliberations on cases. Had you requested our consent to record, we would have refused it," the justices said. "We know of no instance in the past when a Justice has secretly recorded Court deliberations."

Weaver quit the court in August and campaigned against Justice Robert Young Jr. In October, she released a transcript to reveal that he had used the N-word while justices were discussing cases in May 2006.

Young, who is black, acknowledged using the racial slur but said he was simply quoting a disgraced former Detroit-area judge during a talk about judicial politics. Weaver recorded her fellow justices while participating that day by conference call. She insists it was legal.

"We as Justices owe a duty to the Court and to the public to make clear that we do not condone your behavior as outlined in this letter," the five justices said.

A message seeking comment was left Monday for Weaver, who was on the court for nearly 16 years.

The letter was signed by Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly and justices Young, Maura Corrigan, Stephen Markman and Michael Cavanagh. Justice Diane Hathaway declined to sign it, saying a censure first requires a formal hearing.

It was not immediately clear why Justice Alton Davis did not participate. He was appointed to replace Weaver and recently lost an election to keep the seat.

[UPDATE: You can read the letter here. (The Detroit News)]