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In Oregon and Michigan, ballot politics

Two items from this weekend's reporting:

  • The Statesman-Journal reports: Failing to make the fall ballot for lack of petition signatures are two proposed initiative measures, one to limit lawyers contingency fees and the other to make it easier to punish attorneys for filing "frivolous" actions. The measures were sponsored by the head of FreedomWorks in Oregon and Republican Party Vice Chairman Russ Walker. The Politicker blog declares the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association a political winner for the week, commenting: "Sending a team of trial lawyers down to Salem to police the signature counting, it looks like they are off the hook for a ballot measure aimed at cutting their salaries."
  • John Fund of the Wall Street Journal highlights the proposed Michigan constitutional amendment (see below) as an example of left/liberal/progressive activism in a column, "Obama's Liberal Shock Troops." Fund writes: "There is also a direct attack on the judiciary. The initiative reduces the state's Supreme Court to five members, down from seven, and the state's Court of Appeals to 20 judges, down from 28. Saving money appears not to be the motive: Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm could appoint 10 newly created circuit court judges. The net result would be that conservatives would lose control of the state Supreme Court, because the two justices who would be removed would be the last two appointed by GOP Gov. John Engler. Of the eight appeals court judgeships that would be eliminated, six are now held by people with GOP backgrounds."

And since we're on the WSJ's op-ed page, here's another Fund column on Justice Scalia's recent interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Let's Be Rid of Half the Lawyers."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.