New state justice already finding herself in the election game

- The newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court has a boatload of legal credentials, but by her own admission she knows squat about politics. So it may come as a shock to Justice Joan Larsen that her election campaign started at about 11:05 last Wednesday when Gov. Rick Snyder introduced her to the capitol press corps.

Even though she did not announce her candidacy, everything she said that day and hereafter now becomes part of the record that the Democrats will fly speck to make sure she does not get a full term when she is forced to run for this high court seat next year.

And whether she knew it or not, she provided some ammo for just that.

The ACLU and the "progressives" had fun with her tenure in the U.S. Justice Department under the second Bush Administration. She was there during the water-boarding controversy and when asked about it, she told reporters she had nothing to do with it.  End of story for her but not her opponents.

Welcome to Lansing Justice Larsen.

The liberals want to know why  her name apparently is on an email from the department concerning a related issue of habeas corpus?  The governor's office was quick to interject that none of this had anything to do with her qualifications to sit on the high court.

It does, however, provide a juicy political issue if somehow her opponents can wrap-up her up in that Bush controversy and then remind the voters of that next year.

Then there was the curious response to a fairly straight-forward question:  Are you a member of the Federalist Society?  It's the exclusive club for legal eagles with a decided conservative bent.

After calling it a "great and interesting" inquiry she reported, "I'm not dodging the question.  I don't actually know the answer."

However within hours, she had an answer. She had been a member but dropped out in 2004.  Look it.  There is nothing nefarious about this apparent lapse of memory but some opponent might wonder, did she want to hide  it because it could cost her votes down the road and if so that makes her more of a political animal than she would have you believe.  Her supporters will say that's unfair; her opponents could care less.

Welcome to Lansing Justice Larsen.

And finally will she disclose so-called Dark Money contributions when she runs?  That's contributions that can be kept secret. This is not a new issue but she tells reporters she has not had the "necessity to give great thought to that yet. I want to think about that."  Although in the news conference she laid out the pros and cons of the debate.

Opponents might ask, all that experience in the law profession and she has not formed an opinion?

Welcome to ... well, you get the point.


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