08172017Headline:

Grand Rapids, Michigan

HomeMichiganGrand Rapids

Email Tim Smith
Tim Smith
Tim Smith
Attorney • 231-946-0700

The Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct

Comments Off

There is a code of conduct here in Michigan that mandates how Judges must act and carry themselves. The Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct was adopted in October of 1974 and outlines the behavior and conduct that we as citizens expect from our judiciary. It applies to every Judge in this state, from the Probate Judge in Keweenaw County to the seven Justices that sit on our State’s Supreme Court.

 

Canon 2, section B, of the Code of Judicial Conduct states:

 

A judge should respect and observe the law. At all times, the conduct and manner of a judge should promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Without regard to a person’s race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic, a judge should treat every person fairly, with courtesy and respect.

 

Common sense, right? It’s how we all were raised by our own parents; treat others with courtesy and respect. You wouldn’t think that something as simple as that concept would have to be codified as a formal rule regulating judicial conduct. But, it is, and judge’s must adhere to it.

 

You would hope that the judge’s on the highest court in the state, our Supreme Court would know these rules and lead by example.  Some of them have, and some of them have not.

 

In July of 2006, the 7 Supreme Court Justices met to discuss who to appoint to act as Chief Judge of the Kent County Probate Court. During this meeting, Justice Weaver articulated the reasons she disagreed with the appointment made by the majority who was led by Chief Justice Cliff Taylor. 

 

In response to her dissent to the appointment, Justice Weaver became, in her own words, “the target of a personal attack”. 

 

Chief Justice Taylor drafted and circulated to the justices and the court staff a concurrence to the appointment and personally attacked Justice Weaver in making reference to her weight. In describing his reaction to Justice Weaver’s dissent, he wrote, “I even suggested Justice Weaver use a hunger strike as a vehicle [to express her dissent] as it seemed to have the potential for everyone to be a winner.”

 

Personal attacks against women or against individuals who may be overweight have no place in any workplace. But to have the Chief Judge of the Michigan Supreme Court

insult a female co-worker over her weight…….  Completely unacceptable. Completely unprofessional.

 

In fact, some might argue that it violates the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates that Justice Taylor treat Justice Weaver with “courtesy and respect”. I certainly would.

 

What is even more disappointing, is that this isn’t an isolated incident by Justice Taylor. He has been described by his fellow Justices as unprofessional, disorderly, biased, prejudiced, and an individual who misuses and abuses his power.

 

Remember how Justice Taylor treats his female co-workers in November when he is up for re-election. We expect and deserve more from the highest court in the State. At the very least, we deserve a Justice that will abide by the Code of Judicial Conduct. Show that you want more by casting a vote against this type of behavior.

 

Vote against Justice Cliff Taylor.

.