Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 28, 2013

Ex-chief justice pens book about court's 'dark money'


Among the book’s highlights:

Money is raised from special interest groups for judicial campaigns without putting the candidate in jeopardy for compromising judicial neutrality. Weaver described it as “they don’t even have to (make promises) …you just have people raise the money for you, you can maybe sit outside the room and smile. You make statements about how conservative you are, how liberal you are — general statements as if you are going to decide on ideology as opposed to the individual facts of the case.”

Weaver’s belief that several justices deliberately tried to make new law in a controversial Grand Rapids adoption case in 2003 in which an adoption was reversed by the court and a child was returned to her biological mother in Grand Rapids. Weaver says the court pretended to have an independent, neutral hearing on the matter when, in fact, several justices had already decided how they were going to vote and wrote the majority opinion ahead of the hearing.

Weaver contends the Supreme Court was all over the place when it came to pursuing disciplinary proceedings for judges. It persecuted some judges, she said, while it “went soft” on others, including Thomas S. Gilbert, 86th District Court judge from Traverse City. Gilbert smoked some marijuana at a Rolling Stones concert in Detroit and later admitted to being a regular marijuana user during his years on the bench. In the book, Weaver describes the court’s disciplinary actions against Gilbert as secretive, soft and misleading.

Weaver hopes her book helps change the judicial system for the better, including more openness and transparency on the court. More information is available at

“There is tyranny through the exercise, abuse and misuse of the government’s powers in how the cases are handled and how people and their rights are treated,” Weaver said. “It is done in secrecy and it encourages the worst aspects of human behavior.”

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