Last night, in a ruling issued under the cover of night, the Michigan Supreme Court drove a nail into the coffin of Abraham Lincoln’s ideal of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The court’s 4-3 vote to throw out the rule of law and allow a grossly political and unconstitutional redistricting law to take effect shows that not only are our legislative and executive branches being run as political operations of the Michigan Republican Party, but that infestation of “party above people” ideology has sadly corrupted our judicial branch as well.
As I learned the news of the court’s split ruling I felt as though I should be shocked by their blatant shilling for the Republican Party. What I found alarming is that I wasn’t shocked at all. Instead, it sadly seems par for the course these days when our citizens expect no better from the people that are supposed to represent THEIR interests here in Lansing, but are instead focused on doing what’s best for themselves and their party.
This law upheld by the Supreme Court may be just the latest example of their partisan fueled agenda, but it is also perhaps the worst. It was a law rushed through the legislature late last year that changed the district boundaries of Oakland County’s commission to ensure the Republicans maintained control of it. During the debate, Republicans tried to argue it was somehow about saving money, though emails from Republican lawmakers obtained through FOIA revealed it to simply be the political power grab we all knew it to be.
“I guess it would also help to have (a) legitimate explanation as to why we waited until now, after redistricting plans have been submitted, to take these bills up,” said Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake Township) in an email to Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), Oakland Clerk Bill Bullard and top Oakland official Gerald Poisson. “I’m thinking that we claim we were having trouble agreeing on how many seats the (Board of Commissioners) would ultimately have.”
Voters didn’t elect their officials to waste taxpayer dollars on partisan antics and games. Elected officials should be working on issues that support the common good and work to make the state of Michigan a better place for everyone. When obtaining power and locking it in place is the main priority of a caucus, the real issues fall by the wayside.
Even today, I read comments from some of the Republicans here in Lansing that called the court’s ruling “a win.” Unfortunately they forgot to ask the question, for who? It certainly wasn’t a win for Oakland County or for the state of Michigan. It wasn’t a ruling that was a win for democracy or a responsible government either. It was a win only for the Michigan Republican Party in their efforts to ensure they maintain control of Oakland County’s commission, against the will of the voters there.
It’s time that partisan antics be put aside, and that GOP legislators regain focus of that which they were elected to do. It’s time for them to understand that a win for their party is not a win for our state, and that a partisan ruling from a partisan court does not mean that their partisan law is any less offensive than it was before.
The people that elected them deserve far better.