Can Judges Hear a Case Which Might Eliminate Their Jobs?

The voter’s of Michigan will probably have a chance to vote on a proposal which will downsize the size of Michigan’s Supreme Court. The proposed initiative is being constitutionally challenged and is currently before the Michigan Supreme Court. The Court has scheduled oral arguments on the application for leave to appeal. As part of the order, the Court also denied the motion to disqualify two members of the Court from sitting on the Court. The plaintiff’s argued that the very judges whose job was being eliminated could not heard the case because they had a personal interest in keeping their job. The two justices disagreed invoking the “rule of necessity” which says that if it is impossible for an unbiased court to hear the case, then the judges can sit. Two other justices joined in this opinion. Justice Kelly has promised her separate opinion in short order.