Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

November 25, 2007

Editorial: State's top court sides with politics over voters

(Continued)

The Engler Four, however, have been making things up as they go along, and they did it again. They declared that giving the lists to the political parties would help educate voters and encourage them to participate, but conveniently ignored what not giving the lists to the public also meant. As the Detroit News said in an editorial, "neither the courts nor the Legislature should be allowed to decide which members of the public are worthy of access and which are not."

The claim that letting the two parties get state-paid lists of people to hit up for money is educational is pure fiction, apparently created to give at least a fig leaf of justification for a blatantly political act.

The recent actions of the Engler Majority -- including an earlier ruling that gutted Michigan's primary environmental law and undid crystal-clear legislative intent -- mock the process. Conservatives who have long made a living railing against so-called judicial activism by liberal justices seemingly have a sock stuck in their mouths. Liberals are finding that black robe activism can cut both ways -- neither of them good.

The day after a lower court ruled the law unconstitutional because of the lists issue, the Senate passed a version correcting it, but the Democrat-controlled House refused to take it up -- and then went on vacation.

Now, with the court ruling in hand and the clock ticking, it's too late to undo what has been done.

To add to the irony, the whole effort quickly became moot. Within a couple hours of the Supreme Court's ruling, New Hampshire moved the date of its primary up to Jan. 8 so it is still first in the nation. And both national parties had already said Michigan delegates chosen in what they considered rogue primaries wouldn't be seated.

But the panting desire of the state's political elite to make Michigan the center of the universe for a couple weeks was too heady to be denied; even veteran politicians were addled enough to push it.

At least we know where we stand vis-a-vis the Supreme Court: in second place.

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