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Michigan Peremptory Orders: A Supreme Oddity

Michigan Peremptory Orders: A Supreme Oddity

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Published by WayneLawReview
Gary M. Maveal, Michigan Peremptory Orders: A Supreme Oddity, 58 Wayne L. Rev 417 (2012).
Gary M. Maveal, Michigan Peremptory Orders: A Supreme Oddity, 58 Wayne L. Rev 417 (2012).

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 417
MICHIGAN PEREMPTORY ORDERS: A SUPREME ODDITY
G
ARY
M.
 
M
AVEAL
 I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
................................................................................... 418
 
II.
 
T
HE
H
ISTORY OF THE
P
EREMPTORY
O
RDER
R
ULE
........................... 420
 
 A. Summary Decision Practices Before ModernProcedural Reform
…………….
....................................................
422
 1. Precursors of Peremptory Orders: Writs of Mandamusand Prohibition ........................................................................
422
 
2. 1931-33 Rule Origins: Summary Writs on Applications ......
424
 
 B. The Reforms of the Revised Judicature Act and the 1963Court Rules. ....................................................................................
428
 
1. The Studies for a Court of Appeals and Wholly Discretionary Supreme Court Review ......................................
428
 
2. GCR 1963, 806.5 – Authorization for PeremptoryOrders in Emergencies .............................................................
434
 C. The Court’s 1964 Rule for Summary Disposition on Any Application ..............................................................................
436
 
1. The 1963 Constitution: A Court of Appeals and Criminal Appeals as of Right ...................................................
436
 
2. The 1964 Emergency Amendments for PeremptoryOrder on any Application .........................................................
438
 
III.
 
T
HE
P
REVALENCE OF
P
EREMPTORY
O
RDERS IN THE
R
ECENT
D
ECADES
................................................................................. 443
 
 A. The Mid-1970’s: Expanded Use of Peremptory Ordersand 
Per Curiam
Opinions ...............................................................
444
  B. Increasingly Common Peremptory Rulings over Dissents .........
452
 
IV.
 
M
ICHIGAN
S
P
EREMPTORY
R
ULE AND
O
RDERS
U
NIQUE
A
MONG THE
S
TATES
.............................................................................. 456
Professor of Law and Director of Faculty Research & Development, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. B.A., 1977, Wayne State University; J.D., 1981,University of Detroit. I would like to thank Prof. Carol A. Parker, Associate Dean forFinance and Administration at the University of New Mexico School of Law, and AnnM. Byrne, of Bremer & Nelson LLP, in Grand Rapids, for their insights upon reviewingan early draft of this article. Their suggestions were invaluable. I also had the ablecontributions of student research assistants on this project over the past four years:Melissa Stamkos (J.D./LL.B. 2010), now of the New York Bar, Alia Nassar (J.D. 2011,now of the Michigan bar), and my current assistant, Laura Gibson, who will graduate thisacademic year.
 
418 THE WAYNE LAW REVIEW [Vol. 58: 417V.
 
C
RITIQUE
-
 
M
ICHIGAN
S
R
ULE AND
P
RACTICES ARE
U
NWARRANTED
D
EPARTURES FROM
N
ORMS FOR
S
TATE
S
UPREME
C
OURTS
................................................................................. 464
 
VI.
 
C
ONCLUSION
................................................................................... 474A
PPENDIX
.............................................................................................. 475I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 
Michigan Supreme Court Rule 7.302(H)(1) authorizes summaryaffirmance or reversal of the court of appeals upon an application forleave to appeal.
1
The rule allows the justices to forego the custom of fullbriefing after granting leave before deciding questions presented to it.
2
 The frequent use of this “peremptory order rule” to resolve importantlegal issues on applications has proven controversial, especially in casesin which one or more of the justices dissent from the summary reversalor affirmance.
3
 In other states, high courts rarely reach the merits of a questionpresented in passing on an application for leave to appeal.
4
Theprevailing custom elsewhere is for the supreme court to vote first on theapplication for review; if granted, full briefing, oral arguments, anddeliberation inform subsequent decision on the merits.
5
The preliminaryinquiry of whether to hear a case is a critical aspect of judicialadministration: is the question presented significant enough to warrantthe expense and delay of a second appeal? This core screening functiondemands a supreme court to use selectivity and restraint in exercising thepower of discretionary review. Our supreme court followed this practicethroughout most of the twentieth century.
6
If the court granted anapplication for leave to appeal, the parties fully briefed the questionpresented.
7
This deliberative custom was tempered by allowing expeditedrulings in cases of emergency or where a party’s right to immediate relief is clear, e.g., as in mandamus.
8
 In 1964, in anticipation of the opening of the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court crafted a rule that it might summarily affirm
1. M
ICH
.
 
S
UP
.
 
C
T
.
 
R.
 
7.302(H)(1)
 
(2010).
 
2.
Id.
 3.
See infra
note 358 and accompanying text.4.
See, e.g.
, People v. Strohl, 458 N.E.2d 1305 (Ill. 1984);
 In re
Sean X, 473 N.E.2d40 (N.Y. Ct. App. 1984).5.
See
material appended to this Article.6.
See infra
Part II.A.7.
See infra
note 70 and accompanying text.8.
See infra
note 81 and accompanying text.
 
2012]
 MICHIGAN PEREMPTORY ORDERS 
419
 
or reverse any decision of that new court after a review of an applicationfor leave to appeal—even when no emergency existed.
9
As will be seen,Michigan’s 1964 “peremptory order” rule melded rules drawn formandamus and emergency cases into a blanket authorization to rulesummarily on the merits of any application to review the new court of appeals.
10
 This Article traces the history of the peremptory order rule changeand its use since it was enacted. Part II reports the origin and evolution of the current rule, MCR 7.302(H)(1), to the former practice of summarygrant of writs of mandamus.
11
It reviews the study that informed both theRevised Judicature Act of 1961 and the General Court Rules of 1963.
12
 That report surveyed practices in the states with and without intermediatecourts of appeals as well as our own Supreme Court’s work.
13
It raised acentral concern that Michigan’s Supreme Court was overburdened withapplications for leave to appeal and that it was “trying to do too much” inreviewing them with limited resources.
14
The report’s chief recommendations were use of court commissioners and establishing acourt of appeals.
15
Examining the role and structure of an intermediatecourt, the study concluded that its success hinged on that new court beingthe principal court for correcting errors.
16
It warned that “doubleappeals”—review of rulings of a new court of appeals—were a serioushazard and that the delay and expense of successive review could only be justified when needed to settle important questions of state law or tocorrect a miscarriage of justice.
17
 Disregarding this study and advice, the supreme court engineeredrule changes in 1964 authorizing peremptory rulings on anyapplication—even when no emergency existed.
18
 Part III details how the peremptory order rule has been transformedinto a power to summarily rule upon any application.
19
It documents thecourt’s acknowledgment of more aggressive use of the power beginningin 1976.
20
Under their internal policy adopted in 1983, the justices agreed
9.
See infra
Part II.C.10.
See infra
Part II.C
.
 11.
See generally infra
Part II.12.
See generally infra
Part II.13.
See
 
infra
note 90 and accompanying text.14.
See generally infra
Part II.B.1.15.
See generally infra
Part II.B.1.16.
See generally infra
Part II.B.1.17.
See generally infra
Part II.B.1.18.
See generally infra
Part II.C.2.19.
Infra
Part III.20.
Infra
Part III.

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