For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
Patrick J. Wright
Mackinac Center Legal Foundation
Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
MIDLAND — In a court order received yesterday afternoon, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Human Services on behalf of home-based day care owners and “again failed to address key questions” in doing so, said Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. Wright, who filed the lawsuit against the DHS on behalf of Sherry Loar of Petoskey, Michelle Berry of Flint and Paulette Silverson of Brighton, said he expects to file a motion for reconsideration at the Court of Appeals.
“For the second time, the Court of Appeals failed to discuss how private business owners can be made to pay dues to a government employees union,” Wright said. “In fact, the Court of Appeals entered just four sentences of legal assertions, and those managed to avoid the key legal questions. This is surprising, given that the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ordered the Court of Appeals to explain its first dismissal of the lawsuit.
“The core legal issues are plain,” Wright added. “Michigan’s constitution specifically states that only the Legislature can make people into public employees. No one disputes this. And nobody disputes that the Legislature never made home-based day care providers into government employees. The Court of Appeals should not sanction this radical and unconstitutional conversion of private employers into government employees with a mere four sentences of so-called ‘analysis.’”
The lawsuit seeks to end the DHS’ withholding of “union dues” from child care subsidy checks sent to some 40,000 home-based day care providers on behalf of low-income parents who qualify for government assistance.
Wright noted that the Court of Appeals’ terse response stands in stark contrast to its 2008 actions in a case concerning the proposed Reform Michigan Government Now ballot initiative.
“Both cases sought the same remedy, and both concerned suspicious activity by major political forces that had overstepped the bounds of the Michigan Constitution," Wright said. "But the RMGN case, which involved the reorganization of state government, was addressed in an expedited fashion and fully explored by the Court of Appeals. This day care case, which involves a shady process that has funneled millions of dollars to the governor’s political allies from tens of thousands of unsuspecting business owners and day care workers, deserves at least the same judicial consideration.”
Plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration is due by Oct. 13, 2010.