When judges become partisan players, the People’s rights will perish.

Beware of judges who tell you how they will rule on cases. They are almost never rule of law judges, because rule of law judges must follow the law, not their personal policy preferences. Those folks who can tell you whether a legal decision is good or bad without reading it are not constitutional conservatives because their policy preferences are not dictated by the law.

For nearly 15 years, I have stood firmly and proudly as a member of a Rule of Law Supreme Court majority that established a judicial system that respects the rights of the People in a self-governing constitutional republic. Our decisions have consistently enforced the right of the People, not judges, to make their own policy choices. This principle applies to the People’s legislative policy choices, their contractual choices and, most important, to the constitutional policies they have enshrined in our constitution.

The People of Michigan have specifically preserved to themselves the right directly to control their government through policies advanced in ballot initiatives and referenda. It is the constitutional obligation of judges to respect this constitutional right, not thwart it.

Those who opposed the People’s right to control their government by ballot proposals were just as adamant that the People not be given an opportunity to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman (2004) and to prevent government sanctioned racial and gender discrimination (2006). They failed. Both of these controversial initiatives were properly placed on the ballot because they complied with all of the ballot petition rules. The voters got to decide on their merits.

Again, the People have proposed a number of constitutional amendments for consideration at the November general election.

As before, opponents of those proposals launched legal challenges to keep them off the ballot. Some critics of the proposals have asserted that the Court should have kept them off the ballot because they were “bad policy.” This isn’t the Court’s function in a constitutional republic. Whether a policy is good or not is a question that the people or the people’s representatives must decide. Our job was to determine whether the proposals complied with the law that establishes the ground rules for voter initiated petitions.

Therefore, on Wednesday, the same Rule of Law majority – that has always striven to follow the law – respected the People’s right of self-governance and ordered those ballot proposals that complied with the republication requirements to be placed on the ballot. As our constitution requires, the People of this State will decide in November whether these proposals should be adopted.

While some may question the wisdom of one or more of these ballot proposals, one cannot, consistent with the principles of a constitutional government, permit or encourage judges to negate the People’s right to decide those policy questions where the proponents have complied with the laws to place them on the ballot.

Chief Justice Bob Young