In the past two weeks, I have received at least four pieces of campaign literature from the Michigan Democratic Party touting their candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court and denouncing incumbent Justice Clifford Taylor. Several of them insist Justice Taylor voted to strip Michigan residents of their hunting rights. I suspect some, perhaps many, Michiganders are receiving similar mailings, and I want you all to hear the truth about Justice Taylor before you vote on Tuesday.
First, you should know something about my perspective. I am a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, a 'charter' member of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners and a member of the Second Amendment Sisters. For many years, I have worked with other gun-and-hunting rights groups, hunt clubs, gun ranges and sportsman's clubs to preserve and protect our gun and hunting rights. I participated in drafting the Michigan concealed carry statute that was ultimately passed and is now state law. This is not an issue I take lightly. Trust me, I would not consider voting for a Supreme Court Justice who devalued my rights, and I will be voting for Justice Taylor.
In December of 2006, the case of Czymbor Timber vs. City of Saginaw was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court after being heard by two lower state courts. In June of 2007, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the lower court's rulings, which effectively allowed the City of Saginaw's ordinance banning discharge of firearms and bows within the city limits to stand. Justice Taylor voted with the majority.
They found that Mr. Czymbor had
"not made the requisite showing that their property is a hunting area established under” part 419 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.41901"and also that
"...the administrative rule promulgated by the DNR to administer part 419, 2007 AC, R 299.3048, pertains only to townships, not cities..."The majority concluded that the ball is really in the DNR's court.
Certainly, if the DNR no longer wishes to acquiesce to defendants’ antidischarge ordinance, it is free to take the necessary steps to amend its administrative rules to conform to the view it urges in its briefs.By failing to act, the DNR relinquishes its authority over the City of Saginaw with regard to hunting and discharge ordinances. The plaintiff can be granted relief by the DNR if it chooses to follow the procedures necessary to assert its authority. This is a 'strict' reading of Michigan law.
It may not, however, simply ignore the language of MCL 324.41901 or the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.18
The people who are angry about this ruling would have Justices Taylor, Markman, Corrigan and Young ignore state law to find in their favor. There are even some so-called 'conservation' and 'sportsman's' groups opposing Justice Taylor over this vote! They want an activist, legislate-from-the-bench court...but only when it suits them. We can't have it both ways. We either hold to a strict interpretation of the law or we don't.
Justice Taylor has always been very clear on his judicial philosophy: the law says what it says, and he applies it accordingly. If 'we', the citizens of Michigan, don't like the way a law is written, the remedy for that is through the legislature.
I hope this adequately explains the issue, and I ask you to please join me in supporting this fine man for reelection to the Michigan Supreme Court.
In a related story:
The Democrats are also running a VERY disingenuous television ad about Justice Taylor, claiming he was sleeping during a trial. While making GOTV calls yesterday, several volunteers spoke to voters who believed the footage used in the spot was actual video of Justice Taylor nodding off behind the bench. Of course, this was the intent. If you, or anyone you know, has fallen for this hoax, please pay careful attention to the ad next time. In tiny print near the bottom of the screen is the word "Dramatization". The man in the ad is an actor. Even Geoffrey Fieger, who despises Justice Taylor and says so often, will not claim to have seen him sleeping during the trial - and he was in the courtroom!
By all means, cast your precious vote for whomever you choose, but PLEASE make your decisions based on fact, not emotion or partisan rhetoric.