The problem

An attorney is an advocate.  The word advocate literally means, “to be the voice for someone.”  And the question for any Attorney General is, Who are you speaking for?

Over the past two years in office, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has shown again and again that he’s not a voice for the people of Michigan.  As theeditorial page of the Detroit Free Press concluded, “Michigan’s overreaching attorney general, Bill Schuette, appears to be working harder at advancing his own narrow personal agenda than he is at representing Michigan’s people.”  Instead of speaking for ordinary Michiganders, Schuette has seized opportunities at every turn to advocate for his party, his patrons, and pursue his own political ambitions.

There’s a saying among people who watch this office that “AG” stands for “Aspiring Governor.”  And no one has lived up to that name better than Bill Schuette – so much that the “dean of the Michigan capitol press corp,” Tim Skubick, recently wrote that Schuette has been “plotting his next political job . . . ever since he was elected first grade class president . . . if there is such a thing.”

Schuette could have tried to make a name for himself and earn a run for higher office by excelling as Attorney General.  But instead of trying to impress the people he has sworn to speak for, he has focused on impressing the partisan leaders and special interests he thinks will elect him to higher office.  This reversal under Schuette of who the AG serves has not only undermined the role of AG but also represents a broader and more harmful trend in Michigan where too many elected officials have come to believe their re-election is more dependent on securing the approval of wealthy donors and party leaders than the people.

Never in recent memory has an Attorney General in Michigan been so infected with partisanship.  Never have personal ambitions so trumped responsibility to the people.  And never have the people of Michigan suffered so much at the hands of the public official sworn to be their voice and advocate.

Click on the links to see examples from Schuette’s record:

· Health care
· Public corruption
· Benefits for Michigan children
· Consumer protection
· Drug immunity laws
· Working families
· Women’s health

Time and again, Bill Schuette has neither fought nor been the voice for ordinary Michiganders. Rather than being the “People’s Lawyer,” he has been the voice and lawyer for his party and political patrons.  Rather than standing up for people, he’s stepped on people as he climbs the political ladder.

It’s troubling when elected officials put special interests first.  But it’s tragic when this happens in our legal system.  Justice depends on each side having a voice.  And if someone’s not willing to stand up and make your case, you lose.  So when the People’s Lawyer joins the other side, the people lose and the scales of justice become badly unbalanced.