Justice will not remove himself from emergency manager challenge

Oct 8, 2011

A state Supreme Court justice is refusing to remove himself from hearing a challenge to the Michigan’s tough new local emergency manager law. Supreme Court Justice Steve Markman says he has no conflict of interest even though his wife worked on a challenge to the law in federal court.

Kathleen Markman is an assistant state attorney general who did what was described as procedural work to defend the law against the federal court challenge. She has since been removed from the case.

State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman says that eliminates any potential conflict – although he also says there is no reason to believe his actions on the state case would influence the federal decision or vice versa. Michigan Supreme Court justices determine on their own whether or not they have a conflict in a case. If Markman had removed himself, that would leave the court evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats hearing the challenge. Markman is a Republican.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder has asked the state Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the constitutionality of the state takeover law without waiting for lower courts to rule.