Michigan Supreme Court Justice Betty Weaver has decided to retire from the Michigan Supreme Court. Governor Jennifer Granholm has named Court of Appeals Judge Alton Davis to replace her for the remainder of the term. At that point, then-Justice Alton Davis will be able to run as an incumbent in this November’s election.
Justice Weaver began her legal career as an exemplary law student at the Tulane University Law School, where she graduated in the Top 10 of her class. A distinguished career in private practice led to her winning a seat as Probate Court Judge for Leelanau County. She followed with an eight year run as Judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals before winning a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court in 1994. She has been a Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court for 15 years and was contemplating a run for re-election this November as an independent, even in an ever polarizing political climate.
Her decisions demonstrated her independent spirit, at times frustrating liberals as well as conservatives. Her demands for transparency in the Supreme Court at times angered her colleagues, but brought a much needed change of pace to the state’s legal system. I’ve recently noted her participation in numerous decisions by the Gang of Justice that has restored fairness to Michigan law instead of corporate favoritism.
Her replacement, Court of Appeals Judge Alton Davis, was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2005. He is a man with connections to northern Michigan, having graduated from North Central Michigan College, as well as Western Michigan University, and the Detroit College of Law. He has won re-election for the Court of Appeals in 2006 and 2008.
In what will surely be a pivotal election this November in Michigan, the election for two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court will be in play. With Justice Weaver retiring, soon-to-be Justice Alton Davis will be able to run as an incumbent, along with Engler nominated Justice Bob Young. Democrats hope to defeat Bob Young with a new candidate. At the moment it appears that the candidate who has pulled ahead is Denise Langford, an African American Judge (just like Bob Young) who was appointed by Governor Engler to her current position (just like Bob Young).