03
Sep
10

State High Court Justices, Politics Can’t Stay Apart

Whenever I complain that the Michigan Supreme Court has become politicized, I always feel a little bit like the corrupt police prefect in “Casablanca” who was “shocked — shocked!” to discover that gambling was rampant in his favorite casino.

In truth, the courts have always been apolitical and nonpartisan in approximately the same sense that basketball is not a contact sport: Fouling opponents too frequently or flagrantly can get you in a lot of trouble in either venue, but both are rough games, and if you expect someone to be ejected every time you catch an elbow in the face, you’re bound to be disappointed.

So before Republicans and Democrats battling for control of Michigan’s highest court start trading televised trash-talk over which party has prostituted the judicial branch most shamelessly for its own partisan advantage, let’s concede that it’s neither reasonable (nor even, perhaps, desirable) to expect that justices remain entirely innocent of politics — especially in the election year preceding a legislative reapportionment.

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