BY ART BUKOWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — A Michigan Supreme Court justice who seeks re-election will speak to local voters today.
Justice Robert P. Young is set to speak at 10 a.m. at the Traverse City Elks Lodge. He'll be joined by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.
They are set to speak at a meeting of the Traverse Bay Area 9/12 Project, a local manifestation of a national 9/12 movement launched last year by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.
The 9/12 in the group's name stands for both Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and for the nine principles and 12 values that Beck contends were shared by the nation's founding fathers.
Chuck Schaeffer, a Maple City resident and organizer with the local group, said Young and Bishop weren't formally invited to speak, though members in the group played a role in facilitating their visit. Schaeffer isn't sure what Young will have to say, though he imagines he'll discuss the upcoming election.
"It's up to him," Schaeffer said. "We didn't put any conditions on it."
Brad Fowler, Young's campaign manager, said Young will speak about his campaign and the "need to return the Michigan Supreme Court to the rule of law."
Others on the Supreme Court ballot include fellow incumbent Justice Alton Davis; Denise Langford Morris, an Oakland County Circuit Court judge; Mary Beth Kelly, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, and Bob Roddis, an Ann Arbor attorney.
Former Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver quit the court this year, a move that allowed Gov. Jennifer Granholm to appoint Davis, a former Michigan Court of Appeals judge, to the bench. Weaver, of Glen Arbor, supports Davis and publicly feuded with Young during and after Weaver's time on the bench.
Weaver accused Young of "unprofessional and offensive conduct" as a justice — including the use of a racial slur — and "misleading the voting public" in his re-election campaign. Young, who's served on the bench since 1999, admonished Weaver for allegedly breaking a rule that forbids disclosure of private Supreme Court discussions.
Young defended his use of the slur, and said he used it to explain how someone was being treated without rights, though he told an Associated Press reporter he couldn't recall the case in which he used the word.
Weaver, a member of the local 9/12 group, said she plans to come to the Elks' Lodge for today's event.
"You can be sure I'll be there," she said.
The 9/12 group is non-partisan, Schaeffer said, and isn't endorsing Young by having him visit. The group has had other politicians and candidates speak previously, though Schaeffer said his group never invites them.
"We tell our members (candidates) are here for your convenience," Schaeffer said. "You decide."
Weaver said the local 9/12 group is a good outfit.
"There's a lot of sincere people there," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.