It was an odd piece of campaign literature. Many of you who live in Michigan probably received it. From its initial appearance one would get the distinct impression that there was a possibility that hunting would not be a part of Michigan's future.
As you looked this piece of literature over, you find the assertion that current Michigan Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor is the culprit.
"Cliff Taylor cast the deciding vote on a case that bans people from hunting on their own private property."
But never fear! Hope is near. Diane Marie Hathaway is running for Michigan Supreme Court Justice, and she is going to uphold Michigan's proud heritage of hunting. Just vote for her for Michigan Supreme Court Justice instead of the incumbent Cliff Taylor.
A footnote on the inside page of this literature refers to the case of Czymbor's Timber, Inc. v City of Saginaw. The courts opinion on that case is on-line at Czymbor's Timber, Inc. v City of Saginaw .
A perusal of that opinion is revealing. The whole issue has to do with who in the state of Michigan has the authority to regulate where hunting is allowed in relation to who has authority to ban the discharge of weapons within the boundaries of a local unit of government. The dissent opinions focus on those issues, and the issue of private property, though important, was incidental to the legal issues in the case.
Now, though I do not hunt, I know people who do. Of the hunters I know, their number one concern is hunting safety and respect for the laws regulating hunting and the use of firearms and archery equipment while hunting. They recognize there are times and places where the government has authority to say how, when, and where hunting can take place, and that authority is exercised in the interests of safety and wildlife conservation management.
The bottom line is that in my reading of the court's opinion, the future of hunting on private land in the state of Michigan is not threatened by the majority opinion of the Michigan Supreme Court ruling in this case. Don't take my word for it. Go to the link above and read the opinion for yourself. It is also my judgement that this piece of campaign literature from Diane Hathaway is simply misleading.
But there is more. I have in my hand the 2008 Voter Guide from the Michigan Family Forum (MFF). In that guide I found the following:
Cliff Taylor is endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, Citizens for Traditional Values, Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, Chamber of Commerce, and the Farm Bureau AGRIPAC. He was renominated for MI Supreme Court Justice by the Republican State Convention.
Diane Hathaway did not respond to the MFF's repeated requests for information. Oh by the way, she was nominated for MI Supreme Court Justice by the Democratic Party State Convention.
But there is still more. Check out the Judgepedia listing on Judge Diane Hathaway, and to be fair, here is the Judgepedia page for Judge Clifford Taylor .
The bottom line is that Hathaway's campaign piece on hunting is a blatant spin attempt to garner votes from hunters, and make a play for the "traditional values" voter.
Any guesses as to who I will be voting for in the race for Michigan Supreme Court Justice?