McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Lower Court Rulings

Michigan Legislature Files Request to Overturn Temporary Injunction Against 1931 Abortion Law

Update: Jun 27-Jul 8, 2022

On Wednesday, July 6, Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature appealed a Michigan Court of Claims temporary injunction, which stopped enforcement of a 1931 law that outlaws abortion under nearly any circumstance.

Following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, the state courts’ jurisdiction over the constitutional right to an abortion has come into focus for both sides of the debate. The Court of Claims injunction, which came at the request of Planned Parenthood, cited a “substantial likelihood” that the 1931 law violates the due process clause of the Michigan constitution. It was praised by abortion rights groups and elected officials, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The Legislature references the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health to support its argument, and in doing so underscores the importance of the democratic process to find common ground on a polarizing issue.

This case is distinct from another suit filed by Right to Life Michigan and Michigan Catholic Conference. It is also distinct from an executive message filed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer requesting the Michigan Supreme Court immediately resolve the question of whether Michigan’s Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. It is probable that the constitutionality of abortion rights will ultimately make its way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Johnson Will Not Make Ballot; Craig Sues Fraudulent Circulators

Update: Jun 13-24, 2022

On June 13, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith denied disqualified GOP gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson’s efforts to halt the ballot printing process in hopes of gaining a spot on the ballot for the August primary election.

Johnson had claimed in his suit, Johnson v. Board of State Canvassers, that the Bureau of Elections did not follow their normal procedures when identifying fraudulent signatures, and if all fraudulent signatures were compared to the Qualified Voter File, Johnson could prove that there were enough legitimate signatures to keep him on the ballot. Judge Goldsmith sided with the Bureau of Elections, finding their report to be sufficient in identifying fraudulent signatures and petition circulators.

In other related news, disqualified GOP gubernatorial candidate James Craig announced his write-in campaign for the August 2 primary. Craig filed with the Bureau of Elections on Tuesday, June 14, kicking off his campaign.

Craig also recently filed suit against In Field Strategies and eighteen petition circulators in Kent Circuit Court. Craig, et al v. In Field Strategies claims that the fraudulent signatures resulting in Craig’s disqualification from the ballot were unbeknownst to Vanguard Field Strategies and himself, also noting that circulators signed affidavits falsely swearing to collect legitimate signatures. Craig is seeking recovery of damages for breach of contract.

Preliminary Injunction Granted in Planned Parenthood Suit

Update: May 2-19, 2022

On May 17, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s request for a preliminary injunction, halting the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, the 1931 law cannot be enforced if there are court proceedings on the constitutionality of the statute.

The ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Attorney General was celebrated by many, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. In her release, Governor Whitmer said, “The opinion from the Michigan Court of Claims is clear and sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned. It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies.”

John Bursch, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which works alongside Right to Life and the Catholic Conference spoke out against the preliminary injunction, “The judge engaged in an analysis without any advocacy from the other side. And she was demonstrably wrong in her legal conclusions and drawing on precedents which have absolutely no bearing on pro-life laws, and then issuing a really broad injunction that purports to bind not only the attorney general, but other people in the state of Michigan who weren’t even party to this case.”

Under Michigan’s 1931 law, abortion would be banned without exception for rape or incest.