Democrats target Michigan chief justice

Chris Rizo Jul. 14, 2008, 10:44am

Clifford Taylor

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) -Democrats are taking aim at the Michigan Supreme Court chief justice, calling on him not to block a proposal they're backing that would cut judges' pay.

The ad, which began running last weekend, urges Chief Justice Clifford Taylor not to block a proposed ballot initiative that would, among other things, cut judges' pay by 15 percent and reduce the salaries of legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state by 25 percent.

The initiative would also limit retirement benefits for those elected officials to no more than what retired state employees receive.

The ad urges Taylor, who is up for reelection in November, to allow the voters to decide whether to make the changes to the state constitution. The high court reviews proposed ballot measures for their legality.

"Chief Justice Cliff Taylor has a choice: Let the people vote for change - or protect his salary and perks," the ad says.

The spot is running statewide, the state Democratic Party said.

"This ad helps voters understand what an important role the courts will play in determining whether or not they will exercise their right to vote on a grassroots proposal that downsizes and streamlines our state government," Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said.

"Any attempt by Taylor to keep this issue away from the voters will be a blatant political move intended only to protect his personal pay and special perks," Brewer added.

Taylor was appointed to the state's high court in August 1997 by Republican Gov. John Engler to fill the seat vacated by retiring Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley. In 1998, he was elected to fill the balance of Riley's term.

Taylor was re-elected to a full eight-year term in 2000.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

More News