One Branch of Government Meeting the People’s Needs

From the local school board to Washington, D.C., I’ve been fairly frustrated with government these days and the tendency to “play politics” rather than solve voters’ problems. It seems I need to look more carefully in my own backyard before despairing of elected officials’ ability to meet the needs of the citizenry. Having worked directly (as a judicial law clerk) or indirectly (as a litigator in private practice) in the judicial system for 25 years, I know the daily hard work involved in managing and moving a judge’s docket of cases. What I didn’t know was just how well judges and court staff in Michigan are doing it.

Highlighting a 2018 survey of over 27,000 people who used the Michigan courts, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack shared some pretty impressive results:
• 84% of respondents agreed their case was handled fairly
• 86% agreed they were able to get things done in a reasonable amount of time
• 90% agreed the judge treated everyone involved with courtesy and respect

In addition to the survey highlights, the Chief Justice mentioned the innovations and reforms leading to financial savings for the state’s taxpayers. Over an eight-year period, downsizing the judiciary has led to almost $30 million in savings. And increased use of technology like videoconferencing has saved an additional $35 million.

Kudos to our elected judges and the civil servants who support them for working hard to do justice… and do it as efficiently as possible.