Daily Briefs

Justice Kagan says court doesn’t feel political pressure

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says the political pressure surrounding President Obama’s stalled high-court nominee doesn’t affect her fellow justices when it comes to handing down rulings.

During a talk at the University of Arizona Wednesday, Kagan said the opinions of the president or members of Congress are “utterly irrelevant to us when we decide cases.” Senate Republicans have said they won’t confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland before the presidential election.

Obama chose Garland to fill the vacancy left by the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who Kagan described as “generous, warm, and funny as a person could be.” The loss of his “big voice” has forced justices to adjust their roles to “take over what he does,” she said.

Kagan’s comments during the hourlong discussion also focused on the makeup of the nation’s highest court, which she said “is not right now a particularly diverse institution.” She said the court could use more geographical diversity, noting that many justices spent a large part of their lives on the East Coast, The Arizona Daily Star reported.

“I think more than gender, race, or ethnicity it really does have to do with this kind of coastal perspective,” Kagan said.

She acknowledged that a lack of diversity affects how the public views the court.

“People look at an institution and they see people who are like them, who share their experiences, who they imagine share their set of values, and that’s a sort of natural thing and they feel more comfortable if that occurs,” she said.

Kagan became the high court’s fourth female justice when she was appointed in 2010.


Holiday Hours

The Third Circuit Court Civil, Criminal and Family Divisions will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 in observance of Labor Day.
The 36th District Court will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 in observance of Labor Day.


State receives $2.25M grant to help prevent opioid overdose deaths

To help prevent overdose deaths related prescription opioids, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will receive $2.25 million over a three-year period from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI).

The funding will support Michigan’s ongoing efforts to advance and evaluate state-level prevention of opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose efforts to reduce the number of prescription drug overdose deaths in the state.

DDPI funding will further Michigan’s efforts to:

• Improve data collection and analysis around opioid misuse, abuse and overdose;

• Develop a strategy to combat the epidemic; and,

• Work with communities to develop larger, more comprehensive opioid overdose prevention programs.