Duly Noted

MAJ endorses ‘Voters Not Politicians’ redistricting ballot proposal

The Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) has announced its support for the “Voters Not Politicians”’ redistricting reform initiative set to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The MAJ Executive Board voted to endorse the proposed constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw state legislative and congressional districts.

“For too long, politicians and corporate lobbyists have controlled the redistricting process in Michigan so they could draw their own election maps and hand-pick their own voters,” said MAJ President Debra A. Freid. “On Nov. 6, Michigan voters will have an opportunity to end this blatantly undemocratic practice. MAJ is proud to endorse the... redistricting reform ballot proposal.” 

The Michigan Supreme Court last month ruled 4-3 that the proposal would be decided by the voters after Attorney General Bill Schuette, the Michigan Chamber, and others fought to keep it off the ballot. “It’s no surprise that Bill Schuette tried to prevent this fair ballot proposal from going before the voters,” Freid said. “Back when he was a state Senator, he chaired the Senate Reapportionment Committee that redrew electoral maps to benefit Republicans... Bill Schuette has a long and shameful history of siding with powerful special interests and trampling the rights of Michigan citizens.”

“Trial lawyers support the voters’ right to be heard on the redistricting initiative—it is central to our democracy,” Freid said.


Warner minority legal studies scholarships awarded

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently awarded the Warner Norcross + Judd LLC academic scholarships to two minority students to assist them in furthering their legal studies. A competitive scholarship administered and awarded by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Warner scholarship program has provided monetary assistance to students to help cover the educational costs associated with a law degree or paralegal studies since 2001. Winners, chosen based on essays that outlined personal goals and challenges that drew them into the field of law, are:

—Sumer Ghazala of Troy, $5,000 Law School Scholarship, who earned her undergrad degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan Dearborn, and plans to attend Yale Law School. She intends to represent those who are “voiceless in the face of law” through practicing immigration and civil rights law.

—Aneka Montgomery of Detroit, $2,000 Paralegal/Legal Assistant Scholarship; she is currently an office manager at the University of Detroit Mercy dual bachelor’s degrees from Davenport University in business administration and human resources.

Warner has provided more than $185,000 to support programs that encourage minority students to pursue a career in the law.