For Immediate Release
July 14, 2015
or Craig Thiel
Michigan Constitution in Need of Clean Up
The ballot initiative season is heating up. Special interests inside and outside of state government are researching, drafting, or circulating petitions to place statutory initiatives or constitutional amendments on the November 2016 general election ballot. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC) is calling upon state lawmakers to place on the November ballot constitutional amendments that would clean up the Michigan Constitution.
This month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage made inoperable another provision in the 1963 Michigan Constitution. The marriage definition provision (Article I, Section 25) was only 11 years old. It joins other provisions in the Constitution that have been made inoperable. State lawmakers have made no effort to take them out of the state Constitution.
In a new report, A Reminder to Clean Up the Michigan Constitution, CRC has identified seven provisions in the Michigan Constitution that have been nullified by either the U.S. Constitution or a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and should be stricken from the document without substitution.
“Citizens should be able to access a written constitution to understand the fundamental structure, basic laws, and limitations on the governments that serve them,” stated CRC President Eric Lupher. “The need to know the case law that has made inoperable certain provisions impedes that ability.”
“In general, voters view constitutional amendments with some degree of suspicion unless they are convinced that the substance of a proposed amendment will achieve a beneficial result,” continued Mr. Lupher. “These amendments would not be a danger to anyone with a vested interest in avoiding change. Their inoperable status means that they currently serve no purpose.”
The report also calls attention to other inoperable provisions that should be replaced. Chief among those are the provisions related to congressional and legislative redistricting. The U.S. Supreme Court also recently made it clear that states have latitude to take remedial actions to end the practice of gerrymandering and improve voter and candidate participation in elections. Efforts to address these provisions will require some consideration.
The new report is available at no cost on the Citizens Research Council of Michigan website at www.crcmich.org.