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Devon Glass
Devon Glass
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Michigan Deserves Better Than Cliff Taylor For The Michigan Supreme Court

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Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor is wrong for Michigan and needs to be sent packing for early retirement. Cliff Taylor has a record of questionable decisions a mile long and is poorly regarded by Michigan lawyers. Recently, Cliff Taylor has been accused of sleeping on the job, ruling in favor of corporations who Taylor may have been influenced by, and interfering with the appointment of a Chief Judge for the 37th District Court.

According to the Michigan Democratic Party, Cliff Taylor nodded off during an oral argument. The ad states,

Taylor actually fell asleep during a hearing on a case involving an electrical fire that killed six children, where – despite Michigan law and a signed lease clearly making the landlord responsible for wiring – he ruled in favor of the negligent landlord who ignored repeated warnings of faulty wiring.

Even though he slept through this hearing, this decision is completely in line with his other decisions that favor the government, corporations, or insurance companies. A recent example is a decision in which Cliff Taylor refused to hold the City of Lansing responsible for the death of Chantell Buckner when the city failed to clear the sidewalk of snow and Chantell was killed by a car while she walked the street.

Taylor was recently criticized by a fellow Supreme Court Justice, Elizabeth Weaver, for his role in the appointment of Judge John Chmura as Chief Judge. The Michigan Supreme Court is responsible for appointing Chief Judges to each district court. In this case, there were two judges up for consideration. Justice Weaver, in her written opinion, explains what Cliff Taylor (pdf) did next to influence the decision.

At the October 8, 2008 administrative conference at approximately 10:20 a.m., Chief Justice Taylor announced that there was only one candidate remaining for the Chief Judge position. At that point, Justice Kelly asked if anyone knew why Judge Faunce had withdrawn. Chief Justice Taylor explained that he was of the view that there were four (4) votes for Judge Chmura, and that he had decided to call Judge Faunce to inform her that there were four votes for Judge Chmura and that Judge Faunce was welcome to withdraw or stay, but that he did not want her to be embarrassed because there were four votes for Judge Chmura and she would lose. Chief Justice Taylor related that Judge Faunce told him that she would withdraw her name and she did so.

Later, she explained why Cliff Taylor’s actions were improper and unprofessional.

Chief Justice Taylor’s action of telling Judge Faunce that there were four votes for Judge Chmura and that Judge Faunce was welcome to withdraw or stay, before the justices had ever met to discuss and vote on the chief judge appointment, is another example of his unprofessional, improper, and unfair conduct as chief justice. Chief Justice Taylor’s actions effectively interfered with the chief judge appointment process because what he told Judge Faunce during his telephone call caused her to withdraw her name before the justices of this Court had even met to discuss the appointment.

Clearly, Justice Cliff Taylor is not the right person for the job of Michigan Supreme Court Justice. The above is only a small sample of how Cliff Taylor is wrong for Michigan. He appears to not take his job seriously in all aspects, either re-writing laws designed to protect the citizens of Michigan or improperly using his influence to support his radical agenda.

Michigan has a choice this November, they can keep going down the same path with the same predictable results, or Michigan can vote for change on the Supreme Court. If you believe change is needed, please consider voting for Judge Diane Hathaway. She is supported by Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama based upon her message of change.