On Sunday, January 14, 2024, Michigan Advance reported that the Michigan Supreme Court has authorized an independent audit of the Judicial Tenure Commission after concerns were raised about potential racial bias.

The Association of Black Judges of Michigan (ABJM) expressed worries last year about the racial makeup of public complaints filed with the Judicial Tenure Commission. The group noted that five of the nine public complaints brought against judges since 2016 were against African American judges. To address these issues, ABJM requested an independent audit of the commission.

The Michigan Supreme Court’s order allows the Judicial Tenure Commission to disclose confidential and privileged information as part of the independent audit. John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court, said the order represents the court’s position on this matter.

The Judicial Tenure Commission was established in the Michigan constitution to handle complaints against judges and ensure ethical conduct. It is made up of nine volunteers appointed by judges, lawyers, and the governor.

Curtis Bell, the president of ABJM and a Kalamazoo County probate judge, praised the Supreme Court’s move. He said ABJM had discussed the potential audit over a year ago with the Judicial Tenure Commission’s executive director in the interest of transparency. Bell called the order from the high court an important step toward greater openness.



Source: Michigan Advance