Study planned of how Mich. appellate judges picked

DETROIT (AP) — A task force will propose revisions to Michigan’s system for selecting state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges in the wake of an election season that included the heavy use of negative ads.

The 24-member Judicial Selection Task Force announced Tuesday is co-chaired by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly and 6th Circuit Judge James L. Ryan. Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is an honorary co-chair.

Starting in January, the task force will look at how Michigan’s appellate judges are picked and examine recent campaign spending for Michigan Supreme Court races. Kelly says in a statement that the 2010 judicial elections in Michigan saw “vitriolic advertising.”

The task force plans to release its recommendations in 2011.

Who what?

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor just surprised a group of law students, lawyers and law watchers, when in the middle of a presentation about the selection judges and justices she was able to slip in a spontaneous utterance: “Who dat?”

She wasn’t talking football at the Wayne State University/ABOTA symposium; rather she was talking history, and about how the populist president Andrew Jackson saved New Orleans (making him a “saint” of a different kind, back in the day).

Whew!

The question of “will she or won’t she?” has been answered. Sandra Day O’Connor, retired associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has arrived at the ABOTA symposium, “Options for an Independent Judiciary.”

Symposium organizers had wondered if the terrible snow storms in Washington D.C. or today’s snow in Detroit would thwart the justice’s travel plans.