Having spent a lot of time around state legislators over the years, just can't get enough of the news out of Michigan today. (See James Copland's post here.) Reform Michigan Government Now's proposed constitutional amendment is revealed to be a blatant scheme by organized labor and some Democratic politicians to take control of the three branches of government in time for the 2012 redistricting.
This suspicion was confirmed when some (former-by-now) employee of the UAW posted the PowerPoint presentation online. Labor often overreaches, but boy, oh, boy. And what do you call rigging a court's political makeup by reducing, not increasing the number of justices -- court unpacking?
Detroit Free Press, "Suit filed to block constitutional amendment plan": The state Chamber is going to sue. The Detroit News says the Chamber is criticizing the breadth of the amendment, arguing the measure should instead go to a constitutional convention.
Michigan Live, "Memo pins reform proposal on Democrats": Reporter Peter Luke recounts, "In the Senate Democratic caucus, aides say, there is near uniform opposition to the proposal, including among African-American legislators who fear a loss of minority representation in the Legislature."
Detroit News, "Reform state government to help voting, share pain": This unfortunately timed column by Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, is a delight of deceit:
Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the Reform Michigan Government Now! ballot issue. Who's behind it? Where did it come from? Let me set the record straight.
Concerned political activists from the Republican and Democratic sides came together to initiate this proposal. I am one of them. Our group includes regular citizens, lawyers, labor leaders and union members, as well as elected officials and party (Democrat and Republican) activists. Some AFL-CIO-affiliated unions support this effort, as do many individuals. This is a grassroots campaign.
Thanks for setting the record straight, Mark.
The PowerPoint is a fascinating political document, a presentation made to garner support and dollars for a statewide initiative campaign. The proposed budget was $4.9 million, but as slide 33 notes, that's "Less than half the cost of trying to beat an incumbent GOP Supreme Court Justice."
Finally, kudos to the Mackinac Center for uncovering and publicizing the presentation, first spotted by a diligent graduate student intern, Jim Vote. For more, see this commentary from the Center's Paul Kersey.