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Robert P. Young, Jr.: The Michigan Supreme Court Justice who thinks he doesn't have to follow the law

Here’s our auto accident attorneys’ final reasons to defeat Justice Robert P. Young Jr. in his bid for reelection to the Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., a conservative Republican justice who is running for reelection to his second 8-year term on the Michigan Supreme Court, has a double standard when it comes to following the law. The auto accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law want to warn voters that, simply put, Young thinks he does not have to follow the law if he doesn’t want to.

But he thinks other judges must follow the law no matter what.

The duplicity of Justice Young’s position was on full display in a case the Michigan Supreme Court recently handled. In Pellegrino v. AMPCO System Parking, where Young and a trial judge both openly and defiantly refused to follow Michigan law, Young gave himself a pass, but recommended the trial judge be investigated for judicial misconduct.

Young’s hypocrisy is both breathtaking and bewildering. Breathtaking in its raw audaciousness. And bewildering in the fact that Young professes to be a “Rule of Law Judge” who, he asserts, “respect[s] the constitution and the people by faithfully applying the law as it is written.”

The trial judge in Pellegrino was Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Callahan. He showed his rebelliousness by refusing to follow a jury selection law he disagreed strongly with. The law said race could not play any role in jury selection, but Callahan determined that ignoring race in the Pellegrino case would produce an unjust result. It would have prevented him from seating a jury that “adequately represents the community from which this case arises.”

To Callahan, that was not just an ideal, it was essential.

“There is no other county in the state of Michigan with as diverse racial composition as Wayne County. … I am until either removed from the bench by the disciplinary committee or ordered to have a new trial, I am going to seek to have this proportional representation on the juries that hear cases in this court. I can’t be clearer.”

The rebuke of Callahan’s actions by Young and several other justices also could not have been clearer.

Young and the rest of Callahan’s chorus of critics declared Callahan’s actions unconstitutional and in violation of a Michigan Court Rule.

And because Callahan had been so adamant about refusing to follow the law, Young and the others suggested the Judicial Tenure Commission could open an ethics investigation into whether Callahan had committed “judicial misconduct.” Callahan’s major offense, according to Young and the other justices, was that he effectively “became a law unto [himself].”

Justice Robert Young Jr. agreed that Callahan had run afoul of several important rules that all judges must live by:

“A [judge] is not free to disregard rules, orders, and case law with which [he or she] disagrees …”

“‘A judge who may disagree with [the law] must … lay aside [his or her] own opinion of the validity of the law and dispose of the cases before [him or her] in accordance with the precedent.'”

“An order entered by a court with proper jurisdiction must be obeyed, even if the order is clearly incorrect.”

But Michigan law doesn’t apply to Justice Robert Young, Jr….

However, all that high-minded, holier-than-thou preaching went out the window when it came to Young and his own foray into openly and defiantly refusing to follow the law. Young was going to do what he wanted to do, regardless of what the law said he must do, and nobody was going to stop him.

The law that Young chose to thumb his nose at was a Michigan Court Rule that laid out the procedure the Michigan Supreme Court has to follow when a party asks one of the justices to disqualify himself or herself from participating in the party’s case.

Young hated the new rule, which, after having been approved by a four-justice majority of the Michigan Supreme Court, was binding law.

Young stated so at the time of the rule’s passage and he dredged up all of his loathing for the rule again when the Michigan Supreme Court applied the new rule to a disqualification motion against another conservative Republican justice, Stephen J. Markman, that was filed by one of the attorneys in Pellegrino.

In a blistering 11-page statement, Young blasted the new Michigan Court Rule as unconstitutional and declared: “I refuse to participate in procedures that violate the protections of the United States Constitution.”

However, there was one thing conspicuously absent from Young’s rant about the rule and why he felt justified in openly and defiantly refusing to follow it. Nowhere did Young explain why he was not guilty of the same “judicial misconduct” that he thought may warrant an ethics investigation of Judge Callahan.

Moreover, Young never even attempted to explain how his open and defiant refusal to follow the Michigan Court Rule reconciled with the platitudes that he thought Judge Callahan had run afoul of.

Given the scorn and contempt heaped on Judge Callahan, one would think that a “Rule of Law Judge” like Young would feel at least some compunction to offer an explanation – feeble and unconvincing as it would have to be – as to why he was immune from the rules and law that all other judges were legally and ethically duty-bound to follow.

Apparently, in Young’s world, that is more than one should expect from a “Rule of Law Judge.”

Vote for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Alton T. Davis and Judge Denise Langford Morris

Voters should tell Young that that is not good enough by refusing to vote for him.

When they go to the polls in November, voters should elect a Michigan Supreme Court justice who both understands what it means to follow the law and agrees to do so. In other words, they should replace Young with a justice who is his exact opposite. It is time for voters to elect a true “Rule of Law Judge.”

Our auto accident attorneys recommend voting to re-elect Justice Alton T. Davis, and voting to elect Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris. They are the best choice for Michigan auto accident victims and the best choice for Michigan.

These blogs were authored by Steve Gursten and Todd Berg, esq.

More blogs about Justice Young:

Tea Party should vote against Justice Robert Young for the Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young: Voted last among judges and personal injury attorney but first with special interest cash

Reason to defeat Justice Young for re-election to Michigan Supreme Court: Severe bias toward personal injury victims

Justice Robert Young’s high rate of overruling Michigan Supreme Court personal injury lawsuits

Paid for with regulated funds by the Gursten, Koltonow, Gursten & Raitt, P.C., Committee, 30101 Northwestern Highway, Farmington Hills, Michigan 48334. Not authorized by any Candidate Committee.

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