In advocating for the return of members’ money in the 3% case, lawyers from MEA and AFT Michigan have filed a motion to disqualify new Justice Elizabeth Clement from ruling on the case heard by the Michigan Supreme Court earlier this month. Until recently, Clement served as Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief legal counsel.
On Nov. 9, the plaintiffs finally had their day in court to explain why the state needs to immediately return more than $550 million illegally taken from school employees’ paychecks from 2010-12. Read more about the hearing here.
Just prior to those oral arguments, Justice Joan Larsen was appointed to a federal court, leaving a vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court. On Nov. 17, Gov. Snyder – who has initiated each of the state’s legal appeals in the case – appointed Clement to replace Larsen on the bench. Clement has served in various roles in Gov. Snyder’s administration since 2011, most recently as the Governor’s chief legal counsel. Prior to that, she was legal counsel to then-Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, who brought the bill that would become PA 75 to the Senate floor for a vote and then voted in favor of enacting it.
While Clement wasn’t on the bench when the case was heard on Nov. 9, she would be allowed to rule on the case based on the written legal briefs filed and the recording of the oral arguments. However, given her apparent conflicts and appearance of bias as both Snyder’s and Bishop’s legal counsel at a time when critical decisions regarding PA 75 were made, the motion filed asks the other Supreme Court Justices to disqualify her from ruling – should she not choose to recuse herself from the decision.
Stay tuned for updates about any Court ruling on this latest motion. The overall 3% case will be decided no later than summer 2018, the end of the court’s current session.