|November 5 - November 11, 2007||
Volume 5 Issue 45
FOCUS: Lawyers in Pakistan Defending the Rule of Law
“Like so many others, I am deeply disturbed by the recent events in Pakistan where President Pervez Musharraf has suspended the national constitution, detained eight members of the Supreme Court, and arrested thousands of Pakistani lawyers who were peacefully protesting the dismantling of their legal system.
President Musharraf seeks to justify his emergency rule by citing the threat of terrorism. In reality, by arresting non-terrorists and shutting down an independent judiciary, he empowers terrorists. An independent and unbiased court system is fundamental to the survival of a free society.
By standing up for the rule of law, the lawyers of Pakistan have won the admiration and solidarity of lawyers around the world. Many members of the Michigan bar have contacted me asking how Michigan lawyers can express support for their colleagues across the globe. Next week, lawyers everywhere will be showing their support for Pakistani lawyers in many ways. The American Bar Association is planning a march in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, November 14, where lawyers in black suits will gather and walk around the U.S. Supreme Court building. Parallel events will take place throughout our country on the same day.
The rule of law is the foundation of civilized society, and lawyers are the guardians of the rule of law. Their role is never more important than when the very survival of the rule of law is at risk.
I urge Michigan residents and my fellow lawyers to show support for their Pakistani counterparts and to encourage our own government to support the release of the detained judges and lawyers and human rights activists and the restoration of the rule of law in Pakistan.”
Tomorrow at noon President Keefe will be showing his solidarity with Pakistan’s lawyers by appearing at the federal courthouse in Lansing at noon for a silent demonstration, and urges all Michigan lawyers who are in a position to do so to consider taking similar action. The federal courthouse is located at the corner of Allegan and Townsend. President Keefe will be at the north side, facing the state capitol. All participants are asked to dress in black suits.
FOCUS: Service Tax Repeal
Senate actions: On November 6, the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on SB 838, which would repeal the new service tax. The Committee referred the bill to the full chamber and passed by a vote of 23-15.
House actions: The House Tax Policy Committee met through the week to hear testimony on the impact of the service tax. The Committee voted to recommend the passage of SB 845, legislation to delay the implementation of the service tax to December 20. The Committee vote as 17-0 but the full House has not voted yet. On November 8, the Committee recommended HB 5408 to the full House, which approved the bill by a vote of 58-48 with immediate effect. HB 5408 would repeal the service tax and replace the revenue with changes to the Michigan Business Tax by creating a 32.9% surcharge on corporate MBT liability that drops to 23.7% after the first year and includes a $2 million cap. The House vote resulted in objections from Minority Leader Craig DeRoche that Republican amendments to repeal the service tax without replacement revenue were not considered.
Negotiations continue this week with recognition that any action must be immediate. Debate continues to center on if the revenue should be replaced, if the service tax is repealed, and if the revenue replacement should be permanent instead of having a sunset. The Governor has stated that she will only support the repeal if there is replacement revenue that is permanent.
(Lansing State Journal, 11/9/07)
(Lansing State Journal, 11/8/07)
In the Capitol
Committee meetings of interest for the week of 11/12
Legislation Introduced 11/6 – 11/8
Of General Interest
SB 911 Aeronautics; other; airline passengers bill of rights; create.
At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Family Law Section submitted the following public policy report:
H.R. 3013 is a comprehensive reform measure designed to protect and restore the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine and employees’ Sixth and Fifth Amendment rights by reversing various federal agency policies that are undermining these fundamental protections.
Related materials from the ABA can be found online. The State Bar of Michigan’s Representative Assembly adopted positions regarding attorney-client privilege in September 2007 that are consistent with the purposes of H.R. 3013.
The early primary may still continue if legislative or legal action is taken to address the ruling. Legislative action was taken on November 8 when the Senate voted on substitutes for HB 4506 and HB 4507. However, the Senate failed to give the bills immediate effect, therefore not allowing sufficient time for the bills to be effective to enable a January 15 primary.
Senate Passes Bills Aimed at Fighting Mortgage Loan Problems