A Michigan judge who ruled Tuesday in favor of abortionists admitted earlier this year that she is an annual Planned Parenthood donor and abortion supporter and has even represented the abortion giant in a case challenging the same law decades ago.
Court of Claims Chief Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted a preliminary injunction to Planned Parenthood of Michigan on Tuesday, claiming that the Planned Parenthood affiliate was likely to prevail in its lawsuit claiming that a 1931 law (banning abortions except to save the life of the mother) violated the state constitution.
The case comes amid panic from pro-abortion advocates over an impending decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization following the leak of a draft opinion showing that Supreme Court justices may overturn Roe v. Wade.
Gleicher specifically notes in her opinion that “as of the date this opinion is issued, it is unknown whether the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade,” but that “should the United States Supreme Court overrule Roe v. Wade, plaintiffs and their patients face a serious danger of irreparable harm if prevented from accessing abortion services.”
She did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
“Because it is impossible to predict when the United States Supreme Court will issue a decision in Dobbs, the Court finds that the issuance of immediate preliminary injunctive relief warranted to avoid the necessity of another motion and further briefing,” she wrote in a footnote. “Should Dobbs not overrule Roe, or result in a ruling that calls into question any portion of the Court’s analysis, the parties will be expected to advise the Court of the need for additional briefing and a hearing.”
Gleicher previously represented Planned Parenthood in 1997 in a case that involved challenging the very same abortion ban in question, according to The Detroit News, reporting that the Michigan state Court of Appeals upheld the law at the time.
The judge disclosed her ties to Planned Parenthood in an April 2022 letter to attorneys that claimed her assignment to the 2022 case was random, the publication reported. It does not appear that any of the parties involved with the suit challenged her assignment to the case.
“While Judge Gleicher does not believe this warrants her recusal, and is certain that she can sit on this case with requisite impartiality and objectivity, she believes that this letter of disclosure is appropriate,” the letter said, according to The Detroit News. “If any party disagrees with Judge Gleicher’s assessment, an appropriate motion may be filed.”
But Right to Life of Michigan’s Genevieve Marnon spoke out against Gleicher’s support for Planned Parenthood, telling The Detroit News, “It seems very difficult to remain impartial under those circumstances.”
Not only has Gleicher frequently donated to Planned Parenthood, she has also frequently contributed to Democratic candidates and organizations like the major pro-abortion rights group Emily’s List and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, according to The Detroit News.
She also donated to Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is a defendant in the 2022 abortion case, the publication reported, noting that Nessel’s office previously said that it did not have reason to believe that Gleicher’s pro-abortion rights contributions and beliefs would make her biased in the case.
“There are clear ethical rules that govern conflict and disqualifications,” Nessel spokeswoman Lynsey Mukomel told The Detroit News earlier this year. “Judge Gleicher disclosed her past associations out of an abundance of caution and correspondence from the Court states Judge Gleicher, ‘…does not believe this warrants her recusal, and is certain that she can sit on this case with requisite impartiality and objectivity.’”
Under the Michigan code for judicial conduct, judges may make political contributions, but they cannot endorse a candidate. The Detroit News notes that several Republican judicial appointees have donated to Republican candidates.
John Bursch, Senior Counsel and VP for Appellate Advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Wire that the court’s ruling is “egregious for many reasons” and that “Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference are considering their next steps.”
“Because the defendant, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, was not defending the law, the judge had no jurisdiction to rule in this case at all,” he said. “What’s more, the Michigan Court of Appeals previously held that the same pro-life law is valid under Michigan’s Constitution—in a case where Planned Parenthood was represented by the same judge who issued today’s ruling. Michigan citizens are entitled to neutral decision makers, and government officials have a duty to uphold the law and protect their citizens, including unborn children.”
Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a vocal abortion rights proponent, celebrated the Tuesday ruling as “an important victory for Michiganders.”
“The opinion from the Michigan Court of Claims is clear and sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned,” she said. “It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies.”
But the work of pro-abortion rights advocates is far from over, Whitmer said.
“I want every Michigander to know: no matter what happens in DC, I’m going to fight like hell to protect access to safe, legal abortion in Michigan,” she continued. “That’s why last month, I filed a lawsuit and used my executive authority to urge the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately resolve whether Michigan’s state constitution protects the right to abortion once and for all.”
“While today’s preliminary injunction offers immediate, critical relief, we need the Michigan Supreme Court to weigh in and establish the right to abortion under our state constitution,” Whitmer said. “We must protect the rights of nearly 2.2 million women in Michigan to make decisions about their bodies because however we personally feel about abortion. A woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions.”
Whitmer did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.