In the November general election, Michigan voters will have an opportunity to restore some pro-worker balance to the state Supreme Court.
On Feb. 21, Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga threw his hat into the ring, declaring himself a candidate for one of the open seats on the state's highest court. Marlinga has an exemplary criminal justice record as well as a high-profile name whom voters recognize.
"For those who have been injured, for those who have suffered, for those who have been wronged, for those who need and deserve justice, our courts must be a place of welcome," Marlinga said. "Help me make it so."
Marshall Lasser, a Southfield attorney who has frequently written letters to us to regarding the Michigan Supreme Court, called Marlinga, "a recognizable name and a great advocate for working people." Lasser several times has warned the labor community about the pro-business rulings of the state's high court.
"There's no question there has been an anti-worker trend in Supreme Court decisions," he said. "It's a trend that has uniformly been reinforced by Engler's appointments."
Three of the seven seats on the state Supreme Court are up for grabs in November, and Lasser said labor-backed candidates need to win two of them in order to gain a worker-friendly majority.
Marlinga said the majority of the current Supreme Court is intent on re-interpreting, re-writing and re-shaping nearly a half-century of established precedent.
"In the first 10 months of the current majority's tenure, they overturned 10 cases - one a month," Marlinga said. "In the previous 10 years cases were overturned on an average of one per year. We need a new majority to bring the court back into the mainstream."
Macomb County's prosecutor since 1985, the last seven years of Marlinga's tenure has seen crime fall 42 percent in Macomb County. He has also served as assistant U.S. Attorney with the Organized Crime Strike Force and as assistant state Attorney General.
"The Michigan Supreme Court must return to the standards of fairness and integrity that Michigan's working families expect and deserve," said State Sen. Ken DeBeaussaert. "And I can think of no better individual with more honesty and integrity to do that than Prosecutor Carl Marlinga."