You’ve got to hand it to Rick Snyder. He’s not content to just short-circuit democracy with an Emergency Manager law that gives unaccountable, appointed local government and school district managers big salaries, brand new SUVs and virtually unlimited power to break contracts, saddle taxpayers with debt and privatize parks, water systems and other public services.
Today we learned Snyder also wants to short-circuit the state’s judicial process.
Snyder is seeking to bypass the Ingham County Circuit Court, which is slated to hear a lawsuit by around three dozen Michigan citizens challenging Snyder’s emergency manager law -also known as Public Act 4 – as unconstitutional.
On Friday, Snyder sent a letter to the Michigan Supreme Court asking it to take up the case immediately and bypass all lower courts, effectively sidestepping any decision or ruling made by circuit and appellate courts. The Supreme Court has a 4-3 Republican majority.
This is the second time Snyder has made such an extraordinary request for the state’s highest court to immediately take up a case. He did the same thing with the tax increase on pensions, a request the high court dutifully granted.
Snyder’s motivation for bypassing lower courts in the Emergency Manager legal challenge makes perfect sense if the only thing you care about is winning: he’s betting the highly partisan GOP majority on the court will deliver a reliably partisan verdict before any potentially embarrassing defeat in the lower courts on the merits of the case.
Perhaps the Supreme Court majority will decide it doesn’t want to be Snyder’s punks or create more controversy But is anyone willing to bet against a backroom deal delivered for Republican Snyder by this group of GOP justices?
So what if the high court and Snyder silence Michigan citizens and rob them of their day in a trial court where fact-finding and testimony drive decisions? So what if what we are seeing is a pattern of the Snyder Administration cutting corners in his ongoing power grab that is putting communities and our freedoms at risk?
If you’ve already hijacked the local democratic process to secure an unconstitutional power grab, it’s not much of a leap to try and rig our judicial system to guarantee a favorable ruling by a Supreme Court stacked with justices from your own political party.
Earlier this morning it was suggested that instead of One Tough Nerd, Rick Snyder is really One Callous Nerd. The move to further politicize the judiciary by short-cutting the legal process reflects a decision from someone who views democracy and now the judiciary soley through the icy stare of uncaring political power.