It is often said that patience is a virtue — with most legal matters, it is a necessity. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation continues the good fight, particularly in two long battles: the Foundation’s case to prevent an illegal scheme that made private day care owners into government employees, and a Secretary of State case to prevent governmental entities from assisting partisan political activity.
Home-based day care owners, who are being represented by the Center in the case Sherry Loar v. Michigan Department of Human Services, received some good news in September when the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ordered the Court of Appeals to explain that lower court’s dismissal of the case. Later that month, however, the Court of Appeals curtly dismissed the case again. The MCLF will file another appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court in December.
Legal Foundation Director Patrick Wright stated, “I expect the Supreme Court will be disappointed in the Court of Appeals' terse denial.” He noted that the Court of Appeals’ actions stand in strong contrast to Court of Appeals Judge Douglas Shapiro’s recent statement that court decisions should inform litigants “not only ... if they won or lost, but why.”
In the second case, Michigan Education Association v Secretary of State, the Mackinac Center filed a brief of amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.” The case concerns whether it is proper for school districts to collect money for union political accounts, an activity the Center contends is an improper renting of government resources for political ends. In November, the Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments on this matter, and many of the court’s questions mirrored issues raised in the Center’s brief. A decision is expected by July.
“Public-interest legal battles are often long and difficult,” Wright said, “but that’s because fundamental principles are involved and the stakes are high. We are committed to fighting these to the end.”