Michigan's Big Four: An Analysis of the Modern Michigan Supreme Court
October 7, 2008Matthew Schneider
In May 2000, the Wall Street Journal featured an update on the Michigan Supreme Court that praised the court’s majority as “unusually thoughtful, sophisticated, and articulate.” In October 2005, a Wall Street Journal column referred to the court as “The Finest Court in the Nation.” More recently, in November 2007, Human Events labeled the majority “the gold standard” for state judges. These commentaries are follow-ups to other articles that have generously identified the Michigan Supreme Court as a national leader in sound reasoning and judicial restraint. Alternatively, the court has been the source of criticism for abandoning long-standing judicial doctrines. For example, The Detroit Free Press chided the Michigan Supreme Court for abandoning the “absurd result” doctrine, which “discouraged [judges] from enforcing laws adopted by the Legislature if to do so would produce an ‘absurd result.’” Still, there is broad agreement among conservative legal scholars that Michigan’s highest court has greatly advanced the delicate art of being faithful to the law while, at the same time, giving respect for the proper balance between the branches of government and the rights of the people.