Other Judicial Views

  • I seek to be respectful to attorneys and others in the courtroom. At the same time, when I believe that it will contribute to a clearer understanding of the issues in a case, I will often engage in strong and direct questioning of the attorneys.

I agree with Chief Justice Marshall that it is the role of the judge to say what the law “is” and not what it “ought” to be.

  • Despite the large number of cases considered each month by the Supreme Court, I work hard to avoid ‘assembly line’ justice mentality, and do my best to give each case the most thorough and individualized consideration possible. I try never to forget that for the parties, their case may well be the most important thing in the world for them, potentially affecting their freedom, their fortune, and their health. These parties may lose sleep over their cases, and they may be unable to think about much else while their cases are under consideration. I try never to lose sight of these realities, and attempt to resolve their disputes in as conscientious and as fair-minded a manner as possible.
  • There is a winner and, regrettably, there is also a loser, in every case before the court. In writing my opinions, I seek to address the ‘losing party.’ While the ‘winning party’ will generally be satisfied when it looks to the conclusion of the opinion and sees that the court has “affirmed” or “reversed” the decision of the lower courts, the ‘losing party’ needs to be assured that it has lost, not because the judge was personally unsympathetic to its cause, but because, in the court’s best judgment, the law was simply not in its favor.
  • I attempt to write thorough and clear opinions in order to contribute to the long-term development and clarification of Michigan law, i.e., in order not only to resolve the case immediately before the court, but also to state the law with sufficient clarity and precision that trial courts throughout Michigan will find that the decision provides guidance in the resolution of similar future disputes and controversies. This is what the “equal rule of law” is all about.
  • One of the most important attributes of a good appellate judge is that he or she be “engaged” in their cases, that he or she be passionate about deciding cases justly under the law. I work very hard to live up to this standard of “engagement.” I have never issued a decision, or decided a case, other than in accord with what I understood to be the requirements of the law. In each of these cases, I have brought to bear in my decision making my best and most independent judgment.
 

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