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Justice of the Supreme Court
Eight-Year Term — Vote for 1

Candidates were asked to summarize their backgrounds in 75 words and were allotted 75 words to answer each question.  If the candidate did not reply by the required date for publication, the words, “Did not respond in time for publication” appear under the candidate’s name.

1. What criteria will you use to disqualify yourself in cases where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest?

2. What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice, if any?

3. What is your vision for the future of our judicial system? What changes would you advocate and why?

Diane Marie Hathaway

While growing up as the daughter of a Detroit Police Officer, I learned the values of hard work and integrity. After I had my children I went back to school to get my law degree. While I was a Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor I took on drug dealers and put hardened criminals in jail to keep our community safe.  As a Circuit Court Judge, I gained a reputation of being an independent judge, always putting …

1. I have, and I will continue to disqualify myself whenever there is the appearance of impropriety. As I have for the last 15 years as a Wayne County Circuit Judge, I will be fair and impartial, putting the law above special interests and those who endanger families.

2. Currently, the greatest obstacle facing the court is the rights of ordinary citizens not getting a fair hearing. Our constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. The Supreme Court often denies standing, never hearing the merits of the case. These rulings are then binding on lower courts, and many individuals are never afforded the right to have their case heard. In order to have justice, one must have their case be heard.

3. My vision is to have a supreme court that is fair and impartial and where justices do not decide cases based on the party name who brought suit, and instead apply the law to the facts, respecting the rights of the individual. As a Supreme Court Justice I will bring fairness and integrity back to our Supreme Court. We need a Justice who is impartial, and not one who only looks out for his own interest.

Robert W. Roddis

I am a lifelong resident of metropolitan Detroit. I have been an attorney since 1980 and a civil litigator for much of that time. I am a strong advocate of the Austrian School of Economics as exemplified by the Nobel Prize winner in economics Friedrich Hayek and by Congressman Ron Paul, who has been an inspiration to me. I believe that individuals have a constitutional and natural right to personal liberty and financial liberty.

1. If I were to own stock in an entity that was a party before the court, I suspect that this would be an appropriate situation for disqualification.

2. The greatest obstacle to justice is the almost universal belief that government has magical healing powers when, in fact, government is the primary cause of our current social and financial collapse. This “Mary Poppins” theory of government encourages judges to override essential liberties and approve government programs that are not only unconstitutional, but which lead inevitably to more crises and more unconstitutional programs.  Judges have an essential duty to strike down such unconstitutional laws.

3. My vision for the future is that judges might understand and enforce the written Constitution. For just one example, the Constitution clearly states:  “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”. If this provision had been properly enforced, there would have been no unconstitutional creation of the Federal Reserve, no Great Depression, no recent housing bubble and no unconstitutional bailout of Fannie, Freddie and AIG.

Cliff Taylor

I have served on the Supreme Court since 1997. Previous experience included over 5 years on the Court of Appeals, 20 years in private legal practice (Lansing), nearly 2 years as an Assistant County Prosecutor, and 4 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and my law degree from George Washington University. My wife Lucille and I have two sons.

1. I follow the system that has been used by all Michigan Justices since statehood, which is the same one used by the US Supreme Court. Michigan Court Rules define the situations or relationships that require disqualification. For situations falling outside the Rules, a very rare circumstance, the individual Justice looks to his conscience to decide. Appeals of such decisions go to the US Supreme Court, which has never found this process wanting.

2. The judicial system is a 19th century institution in a 21st century world, in which relatively quick and certain decisions—whether personal or corporate—are imperative. Using available technology to address these issues and equally important ones related to the cost of the litigation process—like attorney fees, and discovery costs—can make the judicial system more relevant and accessible to Michigan citizens.

3. We must "right-size" our judiciary due to dramatically fewer lawsuits being filed. I recommended, and the Supreme Court agreed, to eliminate by attrition, twenty-four judgeships. The Governor and Legislature should stop stalling and change the law to do this and thus save millions for our citizens. This is the kind of stewardship our citizens expect, just as last year, when I led our justices and judges to give up state-paid cars.