Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel pries Michigan from 2 more federal cases, bringing total to 26

By: - February 6, 2019 8:39 pm

State Attorney General Dana Nessel

Attorney General Dana Nessel has withdrawn the state from two more federal lawsuits, bringing the total to 26 cases since taking office on Jan. 1.

On Wednesday, the attorney general’s office announced that Nessel, a Democrat, had withdrawn from cases involving voting rights and “dark money” in politics.

Dana Nessel addresses MCRC on Feb. 1 | Ken Coleman

“These cases simply do not reflect what Michigan stands for,” Nessel said in a statement. “We support fairness and transparency. There is no justification for us to continue to be a party to these cases.”

Late last week, Nessel withdrew the state from multiple other cases, including ones involving the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights and abortion, as the Advance reported at the time.

On Wednesday, Nessel announced she had withdrawn the state’s support for Americans For Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case alleges that the state of California violated the First Amendment rights of Americans for Prosperity by requiring that the conservative group reveal donor information.

GOP former Attorney General Bill Schuette joined the case in support of Americans For Prosperity last year.

Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation in December that would have made it a crime for public officials in Michigan to disclose donor information for any nonprofit group, including those involved in politics.

At the time, Snyder said that he believed that legislation “is a solution that is in search of a problem that doesn’t exist in Michigan.”

Similarly, Nessel withdrew from the case of Hand v. Scott in the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case deals with voting rights for convicted felons. Schuette had joined the case in support of defendant-appellant, former Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who’s now a U.S. senator.

In documents withdrawing from both cases, Nessel wrote that neither matter now “represents the legal position of the State of Michigan.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.