House approves bipartisan measure to downsize judiciary
On Valentine’s Day, the Michigan House approved a package of bills that will cut the number of trial judges in the state by 36 through attrition.
The original bipartisan legislation passed by the House in December proposed eliminating 41 trial court judgeships. The Senate amended the bills and reduced the number to 36.
“The last time we eliminated judgeships in Michigan was more than a decade ago, and even though the current reduction is not as sweeping as we first envisioned, it is a huge step toward reforming the judiciary, assuring access to justice and saving taxpayer money,” said state Rep. John Walsh, R- Livonia, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
The legislation was recommended in a report compiled by the State Court Administrative Offices. Past reports have urged similar reductions, but the recommendations were not acted upon. The current report received the support of the Michigan Supreme Court and all three state judges’ associations.
“This will in no way affect a citizen's right to a speedy trial or full access to justice through the court system,” Walsh said. “It is overdue reform that will save taxpayer money in the long run, and will bring our judicial system to the correct size.”
House Bills 5071-77, 5093-95 and 5101-08 now go to the governor for his signature.
Scholarship program expanded at Wayne Law
Wayne State University Law School has added essential funds to its existing need-based scholarships and expanded the Damon J. Keith Scholars program for the upcoming 2012-13 academic year.
“Our scholarship programs make attendance at Wayne Law possible for talented, committed students who might not otherwise be able to afford law school or who think it is out of their reach financially,” said Ericka Jackson, assistant dean of admissions. “With these additional funds, we can make even more of a difference.”
In addition, the expansion of the Keith Scholars program adds new scholarships for graduates of underperforming high schools in Michigan, including Detroit Public High Schools, Jackson said. Scholarships also will be available to students with a parent who is a member of a specialty bar association, such as the Wolverine Bar Association.
No special form is required to apply for the scholarships. All students applying to Wayne Law will be considered automatically at the time of admission.