Even had I a crystal ball in 1978 when I started law school, I would never have believed the vision: A girl from Saginaw a judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA), the state’s 2nd highest court! There are over 42,000 attorneys in the state of Michigan, 35 of them appellate court judges. (7 MSC; 28 COA) It’s been my greatest privilege and my most sacred responsibility.
During this campaign, I’ve often said I am a Rule of Law judge. And it’s true. But I’m also a real world judge who believes that a little common sense goes a long way. I developed common sense and learned about the real world because I am one of 6 kids and started my post MSU life as a high school Spanish/English teacher, then taught adult education primarily to minority students. Finally, before going off to law school, I worked for 2 years as a caseworker for the Dept. of Social Services, a job that cemented my conservative beliefs and convinced me that the breakdown of the nuclear family was the root of our social/economic problems. Five years of attending the school of hard knocks prepared me well for the rigors of law school where women comprised just 10% of our classes.
I believe with all my heart in the principles and ideals set forth by our founding fathers and that continually guide us through our Constitutions and statutes.
Deciding cases as a Rule of Law (ROL) judge is a process; it does not contemplate a final decision. A ROL judge applies the law to the facts. That determines the outcome. An empathy judge determines what outcome he/she wants, and manipulates the legal analysis to achieve that goal. ROL favors no side, nor political party. The outcome, like it or not, must be consistent with the ROL. Without the ROL, the judiciary cannot provide the checks and balances our forefathers so carefully planned for. So, my fellow conservatives, one cannot “judge” a ROL judge by the outcome of a case, but rather by the way it was analyzed. Every ethical ROL judge has been faced with a decision required by the ROL that was contrary to how he/she might have wished it. That includes me. It’s the long term pattern that demonstrates a judge’s judicial philosophy. What’s vital, is that the ROL be followed and that we choose our judges accordingly.
In the past nearly 18 years, through July, 2012, I have participated in 4,971 cases. I have been personally responsible for writing 1/3 of those opinions because we sit in panels of 3. Less than 1% of the cases I have been on have been reversed—by all accounts, an excellent track record. Taking a case to the COA is difficult and expensive. We handle the most complex and onerous of cases civil and criminal from the lower courts from all counties, tax tribunal, Public Service Commission, Workers’ Compensation Board, etc. We are an error correcting court and must follow all law. Unlike the trial courts, all of our opinions must be in writing and immediately posted for public review. It is the perfect experience for the Supreme Court.
Although also an appellate court, the Supreme Court need not follow precedent. It can change the law and decide matters of public policy, and it frequently does. It accepts few cases from the COA and issues only about 70 to 90 formal decisions a year. Most cases either modify, reverse, or otherwise change the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals. That is its function.
So, a proven track record, a strong Constitutional Conservative, a ROL judge for all the people of this great state for the past 22 years: I’m ready to move up to the next level with my friends and former colleagues, Justices Markman and Zahra.
I hope you’ll MARK IT FOR MARKEY and Markman on Saturday! God bless and see you in Grand Rapids.
www.janemarkey.com Judge Jane Markey has served for nearly eighteen years on this State's 2nd highest court, the Michiga
n Court of Appeals (COA), the "farm club" for the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC). Five of the seven current Justices, Cheif Justice Robert Young, Stephen Markman, Michael Cavanagh, Brian Zahra, and Justice Marilyn Kelly all served on the COA before ascending to the Supreme Court.