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MI Supreme Court dismisses last challenges to state abortion law

Michigan Supreme Court
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The Michigan Supreme Court issued final orders Wednesday dismissing two abortion-rights cases that were filed last year. The court orders are a formality since voters already decided the question by adopting a reproductive-rights amendment to the state constitution last year.

Republican-nominated Justice David Viviano agreed with the orders. But he also issued a separate concurring opinion that complained a Michigan Court of Claims judge was too quick to issue an injunction that barred enforcement of the now-defunct abortion ban.

“That it did so in a case involving perhaps the most politically fraught issue to come before the courts, abortion, only heightens those concerns,” he wrote. “Trust in the judiciary is eroded when courts exercise raw power in any case, let alone one of this magnitude.”

In the lead-up to the vote on the reproductive rights amendment, the justices resisted efforts to engage them in the controversy. That included ignoring a formal request for an opinion filed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. While the Supreme Court never made a ruling, its recalcitrance kept in place a lower court order that barred enforcement of Michigan’s now-defunct 1931 abortion ban. That law was also formally repealed by the Legislature’s new Democratic majorities with Whitmer’s signature.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.