Michigan Supreme Court Democrats block GOP's attempt to strike abortion measure from ballot

Michigan Supreme Court Democrats block GOP's attempt to strike abortion measure from ballot
Image via Creative Commons.

Like many state courts, judges on the Michigan State Supreme Court are elected. In 2018 and 2020 Democrats were able to win more seats on the state’s highest court, giving them a 4-3 majority.

On Thursday those efforts paid off.

Democratic Supreme Court justices blocked efforts by Republicans to remove two important measures from the November ballot: abortion and voting rights after Republicans tried to turn a technicality into the disenfranchisement of more than 750,000 Michiganders who signed petitions to get abortion on the ballot.

“Last week, the [abortion] question was sent to the state Supreme Court after Republican canvassers argued the amendment’s spacing and formatting would be confusing to voters,” NPR reports.

The Supreme Court ordered the Board of Canvassers to include the questions on the November ballot, allowing voters in The Great Lake State to have the opportunity to expand voting rights and enshrine the right to choose into the state’s constitution.

READ MORE: Justice Alito’s Secret Speech ‘Spiking the Ball’ on Revoking Abortion Seen as Worsening Court’s ‘Credibility Crisis’

Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack called GOP efforts to derail the abortion measure from getting on the ballot “a game of gotcha gone very bad.”

“Seven hundred fifty three thousand and seven hundred fifty nine Michiganders signed this proposal-more than have ever signed any proposal in Michigan’s history,” the Chief Justice wrote. “The challengers have not produced a single signer who claims to have been confused by the limited-spacing sections in the full text portion of the proposal. Yet two members of the Board of State Canvassers would prevent the people of Michigan from voting on the proposal because they believe that the decreased spacing makes the text no longer ‘[t]he full text,'” she charged, as University of Michigan law professor of Law Leah Litman noted.

“That is, even though there is no dispute that every word appears and appears legibly and in the correct order, and there is no evidence that anyone was confused about the text, two members of the Board of State Canvassers with the power to do so would keep the petition from the voters for what they purport to be a technical violation of the statute. They would disenfranchise millions of Michiganders not because they believe the many thousands of Michiganders who signed the proposal were confused by it, but because they think they have identified a technicality that allows them to do so, a game of gotcha gone very bad.”

University of Michigan Regent Jordan Acker called the Chief Justice’s opinion “a pretty big judicial smackdown.”

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