By Ed White, Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court still hasn’t decided to offer its view on the state’s right-to-work law. In fact, it is seeking someone’s opinion on whether it should give an opinion.
The court on Friday asked the state’s solicitor general, John Bursch, to weigh in on Gov. Rick Snyder’s 3-month-old request to settle the legality of a law that drew thousands of protesters to the Capitol last year.
The law allows workers in Michigan to stop paying union dues if they choose. Snyder wants the Supreme Court to especially decide whether the law applies to state employees who belong to unions and are under the authority of the Michigan Civil Service Commission. Contracts expire this year.
The governor believes an opinion from the state’s highest court might solve months or years of litigation in other courts. Many justices appear to be in no hurry, although not all.
“I would accommodate without further delay his request for an advisory opinion, not because this is or should be a compliant court, but because it is and should be a responsible court,” Justice Stephen Markman said.
Markman and Justice Michael Cavanagh said there’s no reason to solicit the views of Bursch, who as solicitor general in the attorney general’s office regularly argues cases at the state Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court.
Bursch, among other things, is being asked if the court’s involvement at this stage would lead to further “confusion and delay.”
It’s not the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to review a controversial law. In 2011, Snyder wanted the court to leapfrog lower courts and look at a law that placed emergency managers in distressed cities and school districts. The court didn’t act before voters killed the law last fall.
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