Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

October 6, 2013

George Weeks: Schuette again goes to Supreme Court

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette is poised once again, as he likes to describe his role in a varied political life, to “be on duty” for Michigan—now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Oct 15, for the seventh time in his reign, he will present a Michigan case before the nation’s highest court. The case is Schuette v. By Any Means Necessary Coalition, which involves the defense of Michigan’s constitutional amendment to prohibit race-and gender-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university and college admissions.

Micgugab AGs in the last half-century or so have been of particular political interest, starting with the longest-serving one, Democrat Frank Kelley (1961-98). Then came Democrat Jennifer Granholm (1999-2002), first woman to be AG and later Michigan’s first female governor.

Republican Mike Cox (2003-2010) was elected with a mere 5,200-vote edge over Oakland County state Sen. Gary Peters, now a congressman who essentially is Democratic nominee-in-waiting in 2014 for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Cox had a solid record on Great Lakes and other issues.

Now comes Schuette—an ex-state senator, congressman and state ag director—before the high court to defend against challenges supported by lower courts of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative approved by a 58 percent majority of Michigan voters in November 2006.

Seven other states have similar provisions to Michigan’s and could be impacted by the high court ruling—Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

AGs also deal with local crime, as highlighted Friday when Schuette appeared in Ludington with Mason County authorities in charging a man with killing his infant daughter “Baby Kate,” who disappeared more than two years ago. As Schuette said: “This is a tragic case—it makes you sick.”

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