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Misconduct Report: December 2014

Bill Schuette

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Bill Schuette is a Republican and a former judge on the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals. In January of 2003, Judge Schuette took his oath of office as Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals. In the November 2002 General Election, Judge Schuette was elected to this position and serves as one of 28 appellate judges in Michigan. His term expired January 1, 2009.

Awards, memberships and civic activities

Judge Schuette has been a member of various boards and organizations in his community and throughout Michigan. Currently, Schuette serves as Vice President of the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation and is a trustee of the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Albion College as well as the Visiting Committee of the Gerald R. Ford Institute at Albion College. Bill is also a board member of the Education Freedom Fund and a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

Public service

Judge Schuette's career in public service began in 1984 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. At the age of 31, he was one of the youngest Congressmen in America. During his three terms in Congress, Schuette served on the House Budget Committee, the House Agriculture Committee and Select Committee on Aging. In 1990, Bill Schuette was Michigan's Republican candidate for the United States Senate. In January of 1991, Bill was named Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture. As a member of Governor John Engler's cabinet, his policy responsibilities were diverse, ranging from agribusiness export development to environmental stewardship initiatives for production agriculture. When Bill was Director of Agriculture, his wife Cynthia and he created the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fund drive to help feed hungry people throughout Michigan. Joining with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the Michigan Harvest Gathering has raised more than $4.9 million and 7 million pounds of food for Michigan families over a 15-year period. The Michigan Harvest Gathering has been recognized nationally for its innovative public-private partnership. In 1994, Bill was elected to the Michigan Senate, representing Michigan's 35th Senate District. During his eight years in the Senate, Bill served on the Judiciary Committee, the Technology and Energy Committee, the Gaming and Casino Oversight Committee and was Chairman of the Economic Development Committee and Chairman of the Reapportionment Committee.

In 2001, Bill was selected by President George W. Bush to be his Personal Representative to Australian-American Friendship Week in Australia.[1]

Ballot initiative fails

Chief Judge William Whitbeck and Judges Patrick Meter and Bill Schuette determined that the proposal from Reform Michigan Government Now was "an illegal attempt to enact a general revision of the state constitution." According to the Detroit Free Press, "A sweeping proposal led by Michigan Democrats and labor unions to rewrite much of the Michigan Constitution appears dead after a court ruling August 20, 2008."[2]

Court upholds injury law

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that schools, churches, camps and other businesses that provide recreational services can still be held liable for a child's injury even if parents signed a waiver. Based on Michigan law, the court determined that a pre-injury waiver would be worthless if a child were hurt and the parents wanted to sue. According to the Detroit Free Press, those offering recreational services believe the ruling will likely increase insurance rates. "The court acknowledges the decision could make it tougher to do business. While this ruling has significant and far-reaching implications regarding ... organizations and businesses providing valuable services and activities for minor children, and has the potential to increase litigation and impact the availability of programs to younger members of the community, we have no alternative but to recognize the current status of our law and follow its precepts," the three-member panel ruled. The decision, by Judges Richard Bandstra, Michael Talbot and Bill Schuette said, "The decision in this case is important because it serves as an affirmation of the priority we place on the protection of the health and well-being of our children" the court noted.[3]

Artist wins First Amendment case

In a two-to-one decision reversing a lower court's misdemeanor conviction, Judges William Murphy and Michael Smolenski determined "'Prohibiting lettering completely appears to be an excessive restriction compared to the interests sought to be advanced," the appeals says in its ruling. "Indeed, it does not appear the word 'Love' on the mural would district motorists or distract from the aesthetic value of the neighborhood. The judges say the variance "was an unconstitutional regulation of speech, infringing on defendant's First Amendment protections.'" Artist Edward Stross benefited from the ruling that overturns his 2005 conviction. He had been convicted for violating a zoning variance, according to The Macomb Daily. Judge Bill Schuette dissented, writing the mural is not protected by the right to free speech because he considers it to be an "advertisement" or "commercial speech...Although not selling anything directly, the mural gives credibility to Stross as an artist. The obvious economic motivation for the mural is to draw attention to defendant's talent in hope of attracting persons in need of an artist's service," Schuette says.[4]

Court rules in absentee ballot suit

The appellate court ruled that state election law does not give election clerks the authority to mail unsolicited applications for absentee ballots, according to Michigan Life. Further, Judges Donald Owens, Patrick Meter and Bill Schuette wrote that "mailing the applications to only those 60 and older 'undermines the fairness and evenhandedness of the application of election laws in this state.'" Carmella Sabaugh, whose name will appear on the ballot in the 2008 election, had been mailing absentee ballot applications in 2006. According to the article, "The court said Sabaugh did not mail applications to other groups of people who can qualify for absentee ballots such as those who need assistance at the polls, are out of town on Election Day or cannot attend the polls because of religious reasons."[5]

See also

External links