Group wants some judges banned from hearing judge-cutting proposal

Chris Rizo Aug. 12, 2008, 10:45am

Judge William Whitbeck

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-Proponents of a Michigan ballot measure that would cut judges' pay and eliminate some of their positions are asking the state Court of Appeals to block some judges from hearing challenges to the proposal.

Reform Michigan Government Now says seven of the Appeals Court judges should be disqualified from the case because they could lose their judgeships if the measure passes in November.

Additionally, the measure would eliminate two state Supreme Court justice positions, while 10 judgeships would be added at the circuit court level.

The motion to disqualify was heard Monday by a three-judge panel.

On the panel was Judge William Whitbeck, who could get a pink slip if the measure passes. Also on the panel were Judge Patrick Meter and Judge Bill Schuette, who will leave the court at the end of the year.

The court is expected to rule next week.

The proposed ballot initiative 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.

Under the proposal, the state Senate would be reduced from 38 seats to 28, while the House would go from 110 to 82 seats.

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