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ADF to MI attorney general: Uphold and defend state law that protects unborn lives

ADF attorneys file proposed friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Right to Life of Michigan, Michigan Catholic Conference.
Baby Feet

LANSING, Mich. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a proposed friend-of-the-court brief at the Michigan Court of Claims Wednesday in support of upholding a state law that protects unborn children. ADF attorneys, along with counsel at The Smith Appellate Law Firm and Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, filed the brief on behalf of Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference.

The brief was filed in Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan, a case in which Planned Parenthood and Attorney General Dana Nessel are apparently working together to invalidate a 1931 state law that protects unborn lives. The lawsuit’s premise is that the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade later this year.

“Michigan’s elected officials have a duty to uphold the law and protect all their citizens, including the innocent lives of unborn children,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “Yet what we’re seeing is the state’s top attorney engaged in an unacceptable effort to attack a pro-life law that has existed peaceably with the state constitution for more than half a century. We urge the court to swiftly dismiss this case because it not only lacks jurisdiction—both sides of the case are arguing for the exact same outcome—but also because it is based on a hypothetical situation. No matter how someone feels about abortion, they should be gravely concerned that Michigan’s attorney general refuses to defend a validly enacted and longstanding law.”

The brief also explains that the presiding judge should recuse herself because this case was brought by Planned Parenthood, represented by the ACLU, to invalidate all of Michigan’s pro-life laws, and the judge previously worked as an ACLU attorney, litigating cases on behalf of Planned Parenthood and its allies, seeking to invalidate Michigan’s pro-life laws. The judge has received an award from Planned Parenthood and makes annual contributions to Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

“Given her long history of working with the ACLU in support of Planned Parenthood and its collaborators on substantially similar matters … and the fact that her charitable contributions are effectively helping fund this litigation, there can be no doubt that this conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge’s ability to oversee this case with impartiality has been compromised,” requiring recusal, the brief summarized.

The brief continues: “If the presiding judge declines to recuse and further declines to dismiss an unripe case that lacks adverse parties, the People of Michigan will reasonably ask whether the Michigan judiciary really serves as an independent arbiter of justice or is instead merely a tool for parties to obtain political goals they have been unable to achieve through ordinary, democratic processes.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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John Bursch
John Bursch
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy
John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom.