Vox Populi

Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

It’s good to be the king

In broken tort reform, buying elections, Campaign Finance, medical malpractice, MI Supreme Court, undo tort reform on April 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm
English: A Photograph of the Michigan Supreme ...

English: A Photograph of the Michigan Supreme Court building located in downtown Lansing, Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Mel Brooks had that as a running rif in his “History of the World, Part 1,” it was the excesses of the French Court he was lampooning (skeet shooting serfs was one gag).   The saying, though, applies to the Michigan Supreme Court today, with no revolution in sight.

The legal doctrine of Rooker-Feldman allows a state judiciary to be immune from federal oversight.  That is, a state court’s decision cannot be second-guessed by the federal court system…only the by the Supreme Court.

That is a fine system for upholding Jim Crow or enforcing Med Mal “tort reforms” (yes, I consider them to be of the same ilk).  Without a literal act of Congress (and good luck on that), a state judiciary can lay out a series of ruling that, because of stare decisis becomes the de facto law of the land.  If a case comes up through the appellate channel that challenges the precedent law-scape, just choose not to hear it. Because it takes 4 of 9 to hear a case, a stacked court (like the present Michigan Supreme Court) has virtual carte blanche to NOT hear any case that might upset the delicate balance that they have worked so hard over the last 20 years to erect.

With Gov. Rick Snyder‘s conservative appointment this last month, the “balance” of the court is now well in favor of keeping things exactly at the status quo

So, if you are too poor to sue, you better hope you live in a state that is NOT Michigan OR you physician you malpracticed on your ass lives in another state.  That way you can sue in Federal Court where they have determined that the Affidavit of Merit leads to injustice (as have numerous state courts–OK, LA, WA, IL, OH, NY, VT).

If you live in Michigan, and your physician was in Michigan, you either pay to play or you go home.  No other options.

If you appeal, you will be denied by stare decisis.  If you appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, you get a one page letter stating “heard and denied” for your troubles.  Appeal that to the US Supreme Court, and you waste your time (they take up about 1% of the cases filed).

Forget about Federal Courts other than the Supreme Court of the United States, federal district courts will dismiss on Rooker-Feldman.

For the sitting Michigan justices, it is good to be the king.

For the insurance and medical groups who have financed their campaigns, who have paid over the years to have their ALEC laws enacted, it is really, really good to be the king.

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The Methods: get your ideas out–editorials

In buying elections, Campaign Finance, Get the Ca$h, ideology, Think tank on December 2, 2009 at 3:49 am

Once you have identified your friends (think tanks, special interests groups, etc.), let them get your agenda out in front of the voting public.  Like the guy at the right, James M. Hohman, who works for the Mackinac Center for Policy (advocates of “free markets”–whatever that may be other than very conservative, Glenn Beck-esque ideologies).  His job/bio, as stated on the center’s web site, reads as such:

James M. Hohman is a fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center’s fiscal policy initiative. He holds a degree in economics from Northwood University in Midland, Mich.

Part of his duties as a “fiscal policy analyst” is to write policy papers (like this one where he argues that Michigan’s economic crisis is not tied to the automaker’s decline–he fails to note to what it is tied–but the tax system is working just fine).   Once a paper is written, it is posted to the center’s web site (like this one: Site Selection, Jennifer Granholm [Mackinac Center]).

The article, though, lives on in other forms.  For instance, that very same article appears as an editorial in the small town newspaper The Big Rapids Pioneer in their News and Opinions page.  Couched as an editorial, this position paper now commands, at least for some readers, the respect of a newspaper’s editorial blessing.

If you, with your agenda, can pull this off often enough, your message, like a drum-beat, will be heard often, with tacitly coded authority granted just by being printed in the editorial page of the local newspaper.  For many voters, those who read and think about things, this may be enough to slide them to your position.

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The Players: Think Tanks: Mackinac Center for Public Policy

In buying elections, Campaign Finance, Get the Ca$h, ideology, Think tank on December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm

If you are wishing to position yourself for the 2010 elections–and you know you are–you first need to identify (or establish) a “think tank.”  Ignore the thinking part of the name, as your tank will produce news articles, editorials, opinions, studies, etc. that, systematically, advance your agenda.  You also need to establish these tanks as “non-partisan,” which is a nifty way to denounce anyone claiming partisanship–it is not affiliated with any party…[wink, wink].

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy (named after the island–an internal state reference–that will only confuse a poor speller) presents itself as “the Mackinac Center provide incisive, accurate and timely analysis of critical policy issues.

Of course, “non-partisan” doesn’t mean that your donor list isn’t comprised of one party/ideology over another…birds of a feather and all that.

Once you have a think tank(s), or a few dozen, then the business of ideological spamming may commence.

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What have others said about the Mackinac Canter for Public Policy?

  • The Mackinac Center is the largest conservative state-level policy think-tank in the nation. The Michigan-based organization promotes market-driven policies on a wide range of issues and espouses limited government principles. The Center’s success in influencing Michigan policies has served as a model for other state-level think tanks.  http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/mackinac-center-public-policy
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How does an algorithym indicate partisanship

In Get the Ca$h, MI Supreme Court on November 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I know that Michigan’s Court system is not supposed to be party affiliated, but go here and see.

When you build a customized query, which I hope you do, you get a visual arrangement of the donors to candidate, along with a visual of influences.

This graph is what the 2008 Supreme Court of MI looked like with donors sorted  over $500 or more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go here to see the interactive version: http://unfluence.primate.net/unfluence.html?StateSelect=MI&YearSelect=2008&Office=J11&Interest=0&valueMin=500

You will see that the center nodes are, respectively, Cliff Taylor (winner) and Diane Hathaway (loser).   You will also see that there is no redder a candidate out there than Cliff Taylor.

 

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Healthcare Reform or Tort Reform?

In Campaign Finance, medical malpractice, MI Supreme Court, Uncategorized, undo tort reform on November 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Healthcare Reform or Tort Reform?“, posted with vodpod

 

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