It’s soon time to change our way of speaking

As some of us in the news business know, each publication has its own rules in terms of the style used. It can vary from whether a township designation is used on first reference only, to whether a car company’s “corporation” or “company” status is used at all.

Well, it looks like the next governor will lay down his own rule in terms of what we’re called around here, as the Detroit Free Press reports:  

Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Snyder likes to think of himself as someone who will give Michigan the kind of leadership “where all Michiganders can win together.”

In his 10-minute victory speech Tuesday, Snyder referred to “Michiganders” coming together or working together or winning together four times.

In fact, he uses Michigander in almost every stump speech, in answers to questions, on his Web site.

But many fellow citizens think they’re Michiganians.

Those include Gov. Jennifer Granholm and at least her two immediate predecessors: John Engler and Jim Blanchard.

Virg Bernero, the Democrat running for governor, hasn’t used either term noticeably.

We asked his preference.

“Michigander” was the one-word response from his spokesman.

So, kumbaya, brothers and sisters: Whoever wins, we’ll soon all be Michiganders.

Take a breeze through the “Comments” section of the online version of the story, and you’ll find one reader who has a suggestion: “I’d prefer to be called EMPLOYED!”

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Ingham Circuit Judge Giddings reflects on retirement

Judge James Giddings, of the Ingham County Circuit Court, is retiring because he’s bumping against the state constitutional age-70 roadblock.

He says it might be time to rethink the age limit for holding judicial office.

In a conversation with Kyle Melinn of the Lansing-based CityPulse, Giddings said he’s been on the bench almost 40 years.

Giddings said he still has enough in him to keep going but isn’t sure he would have taken another ride on the electoral rollercoaster even without the constitutional barrier.

Realistically, being 70 years old today isn’t like being 70 years old back in the 1960s, when the latest draft of the Constitution was written, Giddings noted. People are living longer, more healthy lives. At age 70, Giddings said he could continue doing the job. Maybe at age 75, things would be different, he said. He’ll never know.

But if voters this November vote “yes” on Proposal 1 and call for a new constitutional convention to re-write Michigan’s guiding document, Giddings would suggest that delegates lift the current cap to more accurately reflect the changing times, be it 75 or 80.

Giddings, who frequently clashed with former governor John Engler, addressed Engler’s frequent claims that Giddings was a judicial activist.

“If anyone examined the rulings, they’d know I followed the law,” Giddings said. “Give him credit, John Engler was effective. But he used things I ruled on to give him stature with some constituencies.”

Engler claimed at the time that Giddings was a “judicial activist.” Now, Giddings accurately pointed out, Engler’s own judicial appointees, especially at the Supreme Court level, are being painted with the same brush.

Mary Beth Kelly criticized as her appointment set to expire

From the Metro Times, several Wayne County judges and departments are apparently displeased with the leadership of Chief Circuit Judge Mary Beth Kelly, whose appointment as Chief Judge expires at the year’s end.

Critics of Kelly — who came to the bench as an appointee of Republican Gov. John Engler in 1999 — sometimes characterize her policies as part of an effort by outstate conservatives to control leaders in the more liberal Detroit. They say some of her actions reflect the region’s longtime inability to come to terms with racial issues. She’s not making the correct, albeit difficult, decisions about how to effectively manage governmental operations with limited dollars, they say. And she should be stopped.

"I say Mary Beth Kelly has got to go," Detroit City Councilwoman Brenda Jones told one gathering held to "learn about the injustices taking place in our court system."

Defenders in the story call her fair-minded and say that her biggest problem is that she “came to power in an unusual way.

GOP weather report: A bit chilly for MSC’s Weaver

The weather was a mixed bag over the weekend on Mackinac Island, according to Misty, an employee at the Mackinaw City dock of Shepler’s Ferry, which did a swinging business shuttling politicos to and from the Michigan Republican Party’s leadership conference on the upscale state park.

Cool and windy on Friday, a pleasant Saturday and a Sunday that started off nice but deteriorated into clouds and rain, Misty helpfully reported when I called her this morning.

But for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver, there was a distinct chill in the air that had little to do with autumn blowing in on the straits as she tried to drum up some party support for her re-election bid in 2010.

Weaver, who has enjoyed GOP backing in the past, has famously squabbled with former Republican Chief Justice Clifford Taylor — who lost his re-election bid last year — and current GOP Justices Maura Corrigan, Robert Young and Stephen Markman.

It was not too long ago that Taylor, Corrigan, Young and Markman were a majority voting bloc on the Court — a bloc engineered by former Michigan Governor John Engler during his terms of office.

According to yesterday’s Capitol Capsule from the Michigan Information and Research Service, former Republican Speaker of the House Craig DeRoche “rebuffed Weaver’s personal request to support her re-nomination in 2010[.]”

Then, says the MIRS report

Engler poked some fun at Weaver at her expense.

In telling attendees of his Saturday evening dinner speech about his history with past Mackinac Island events, Engler quipped, “I go back to when Betty Weaver was actually a conservative judge.”

Later in his talk, Engler talked about the need to “find some help for (Justice) Bob Young on the Supreme Court. …

“We need Bob Young back on the Supreme Court. We can’t let the courts go back to being a have [sic – haven?] for trial attorneys,” Engler said.

Young, along with Weaver, faces re-election in 2010.