Justice Weaver is a conservative Republican Justice of our Michigan Supreme Court. But even Justice Weaver appears to have had enough activism from her neo-conservative co-Justices which are commonly referred to as the Engler 4: Justice Maura D. Corrigan, Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. (elected during Engler reign as Michigan Governor), Justice Stephen J. Markman (appointed by Engler), Chief Justice Clifford W. Taylor (appointed by Engler).
Justice Weaver acknowledged that she disagreed with prior law. However, she also acknowledged her sworn duty to apply that law. Here is what Justice Weaver thoughtfully wrote in a recent decision Devillers v. Auto Owners Insurance Company, 473 Mich. 562 (2005) where the Supreme Court considered itself immune from having to honor established legal precedent:
First, the Lewis decision does not defy "practical workability"; it has been applied for
nineteen years without causing any fundamental problems with no--fault insurance. Second, the Lewis decision has indeed become "so embedded, so fundamental, to everyones expectations that to change it would produce not just readjustments, but practical real--world dislocations." Robinson, supra at 466. Claimants who consulted an attorney on whether they needed to file suit after receiving no response to a filed claim would have been told, on the basis of Lewis, that filing the claim had preserved their rights until they received an answer from the insurance company. Changing that rule now will affect an unknown number of claimants who will lose their rights to benefits that had previously been protected. Third, there have been no changes in the law or facts since Lewis was issued. Finally, Lewis did not misread or misconstrue a statute; instead, it applied judicial tolling to the statute as an equitable matter.
In light of the doctrine of stare decisis and the purposes it serves, neither the defendant nor the majority have given sufficient reason to overrule Lewis. Correction for correction's sake does not make sense. The case has not been made why the Court should not adhere to the doctrine of stare decisis in this case.
The Michigan Supreme Court has destabilized the judicial system in Michigan to such an extent that it is virtually impossible for Michigan citizens to know what the law is or understand their rights. Lawyers can not advise their clients because legal precedent which is the foundation of our legal system has become meaningless and become replaced by the political agenda of the court. Because our Michigan Supreme Court majority refuses to honor precedent, it is impossible to say what the law will be one week or one year from now.
At best, Michigan attorneys are forced to guess which cases the Supreme Court will decide to accept for review. Attorneys across the State of Michigan already are forced to advise clients that "If you are not a major corporation or insurance company, and your case goes up to the Michigan Supreme Court, you will likely lose, irrespective of established precedent or the facts."
Michigan citizens need to realize that they are being stripped of their legal rights by the present court majority, irregardless of which political party you belong to. It is my Republican clients that are always most shocked when they learn what has happened to our Michigan justice system. Even they understand the need for precedent in order for the legal system to properly function.