Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oakland Circuit Judge-Shuffle Shaping Up

Recently, President Obama appointed Oakland Circuit Judge Mark Goldsmith to the federal bench in Detroit. His appointment has been approved by the U.S. Senate and he is expected to assume his place at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by year's end.

Goldsmith's appointment creates an opening on the general docket of the Oakland County Circuit Court.  Oakland Family Court Judge James M. Alexander has announced that he will vacate his place in the Family Court to assume Judge Goldsmith's docket.

Judge Alexander will be handling general civil cases, and a criminal docket.  This means that attorneys, and parties that had matters pending with Judge Alexander in the Oakland Family Court will have their matters re-assigned to another judge.

This also means that another judge will be appointed, perhaps by the end of the year, to fill Judge Alexander's spot on the family court in Oakland County.  Rumors are rampant relative to Governor Jennnifer Granholm's appointment for this seat.  Among a few others, we've heard that 51st District Chief Judge Phyllis McMillen is under active consideration.

McMillen would be well-suited for the family court appointment.  A judge's judge, McMillen brings plenty of judicial experience as well as a valuable even-handed judicial demeanor to fill this important vacancy.  Unfortunately, in our system of political judicial appointments, the right person does not always get the job.

Our system of judicial elections for at-large seats, and gubernatorial vacancy appointments makes for an ever-changing bench at the county and municipal levels.  Good judges help to instill in the general public the proper confidence in our judicial system.