A Sixth Circuit panel declines to strike down a state law under which public schools will no longer withhold union dues from teachers’ salaries. The Michigan Education Association had claimed that Public Act 53 interfered with its First Amendment right to speak. [David Shepardson, Detroit News]
First the complaint, then the money, now the public accolade: as we noted last month, student Kendra Velzen filed a complaint — and got a $40,000 settlement — after administrators at Grand Valley State University in Michigan declined to allow her emotional-support guinea pig to live with her in the dorm, even though she had a doctor’s note for it. Now the “Fair Housing Center of West Michigan has given … Velzen its annual Outstanding Effort by an Individual award. The group says Velzen was honored for promoting ‘equal housing opportunity for university students throughout the country.’” The center has a previous connection with the case, having assisted Velzen in her complaint. [AP/WILX]
“A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.” [AP]
Was she unaware a house of that vintage might have lead paint, then? “A woman who bought a 110-year-old home from Kalamazoo for $3,200 has agreed to a $115,000 settlement with the city after she said officials failed to disclose the possibility it contained lead-based paint.” Brandi Crawford bought the house last year and this March filed a claim saying “city officials didn’t provide her with an Environmental Protection Agency-approved form warning her of the potential of lead-based paint in the home. Crawford said her child had elevated lead levels.” [AP/Detroit News]
Kendra Velzen had a note from a doctor prescribing the companionship of the rodent, but Grand Valley State University outside Grand Rapids, Mich. nonetheless resisted her request to keep the guinea pig with her at class, in the dorm, and in food service areas. Now school administrators have folded. [Eric Owens, Daily Caller](& Greenfield)
Brad Smith on how Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford used early versions of campaign finance law to settle scores with Michigan opponent Truman Newberry [Law and Liberty]
“Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway filed retirement papers last month, but she didn’t announce her plans until Monday when the state Judicial Tenure Commission accused her of ‘blatant and brazen’ misconduct.” Hathaway had allegedly hidden assets from creditors during a real estate short sale and responded untruthfully during a judicial disciplinary investigation of the matter. [Debra Cassens Weiss/ABA Journal, Volokh]
It is worth noting that Justice Hathaway won an upset victory over an admirable incumbent, Chief Justice Cliff Taylor, following 2008′s most unfair attack ad, in which Democrats broadcast a photo of Taylor with his eyes closed on the bench — the sort of picture that, given human physiology and the right kind of camera work, could be obtained of any jurist — and accused him of sleeping. Taylor told the Detroit News that the piece “wasn’t true, but it was a very compelling piece of political theater”. I noted the story four years ago. In hindsight, we can see that the attack ad not only took down an outstanding judge, but elevated a challenger who proved little credit to the bench.
It’s a wonder the citizens of Michigan aren’t more grateful to the United Auto Workers union for its many accomplishments [USA Today, Fox News]:
Chrysler took quick action two years ago after television news reports of workers at its Jefferson North plant in Detroit who were apparently drinking beer or smoking marijuana on lunch breaks against factory policies…. now they’re back on the job, having won an arbitration decision that reinstated them to their union jobs.
As lawmakers in Lansing prepare for a vote, unions are training supporters in what is euphemistically called “civil disobedience,” and state troopers are arriving in numbers to counter expected efforts to physically prevent the legislature from accomplishing its intended business. After neighboring Indiana adopted a similar law it saw a surge of incoming business relocation interest. [Detroit News, Free Press, MLive, Jillian Kay Melchior, NR; earlier]
Author Russell Nieli came to Cato this week to discuss his new book and I gave a brief commentary. More: John Rosenberg, Discriminations.
Related: Voting on ideological lines, the Sixth Circuit declares void the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, suggesting a constitutionalized “right” to racial preferences. Calling SCOTUS! [Jonathan Adler]
Richard Epstein on an overreaching ballot measure that would insert labor union prerogatives into the Michigan constitution (earlier here, here). The measure is flagging in polls, despite a robo-call in favor by Bill Clinton, and has drawn opposition even from the stoutly liberal Detroit Free Press [Shikha Dalmia]
P.S. The WSJ is reminding us again about the not-wholly-unrelated battle for the Michigan Supreme Court (earlier).
…take note of what labor unions are doing on the Michigan ballot [Emilio Rocca/CEI, earlier] More: Shikha Dalmia, WSJ.