house Concurrent Resolution No.33
The Speaker, on behalf of the entire membership of the House of Representatives, offered the following resolution:
Whereas, It is a privilege to recognize Justice Stephen J. Markman as he completes his service on the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Markman has served the state's judiciary, the legal community, and the people of our state with distinction during his lifetime of public service; and
Whereas, Justice Markman brought a wealth of experience from the state and federal levels, as well as the private sector, when he arrived at the Supreme Court in 1999. He served for seven years as chief counsel of the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution and as deputy chief counsel of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Justice Markman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a U.S. Assistant Attorney General in 1985, when he led the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy, which is the principal policy development office within the department and coordinates the federal judicial selection process. President George H. W. Bush appointed Justice Markman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1989. After his term as U.S. Attorney ended in 1993, Justice Markman practiced law at Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone until he was chosen to serve on the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1995. He served on the Court of Appeals until Governor John Engler elevated him to the Supreme Court in 1999; and
Whereas, Following his appointment to the Supreme Court, the people of Michigan elected Justice Markman three times, first to a partial term in 2000 and then to full terms in 2004 and 2012. His colleagues later selected him as Chief Justice for the 2017-2018 session; and
Whereas, During more than two decades on the state's highest court, Justice Markman was a thoughtful and hardworking arbiter of the state's constitution and laws. He left his mark on the state and the legal community, writing thorough and well-argued majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions during his time on the bench. His contributions have also extended outside of his appointed and elective offices, penning numerous articles and book chapters, teaching constitutional law at Hillsdale College, and assisting Ukraine with the development of its most recent constitution on behalf of the U.S. State Department in the 1990s; and
Whereas, Throughout his time on our highest court, Justice Markman contributed immensely to the application of criminal sentencing guidelines in cases such as People v Kimble, 470 Mich 305 (2004), and People v Francisco, 474 Mich 82 (2006), where he penned pivotal opinions on Michigan’s criminal sentencing scheme, including providing in Kimble that "a sentence that is outside the appropriate guidelines sentence range, for whatever reason, is appealable"; and
Whereas, Justice Markman has demonstrated throughout his tenure strong support for the constitutional foundations of federalism and the separation of powers, as well as a reverence for the legislative branch of government, as evidenced most recently in the landmark decision ruling in support of state constitutional law in the case challenging gubernatorial emergency powers. In this opinion, Justice Markman restored the constitutional balance of power while noting the importance of co-equal branch communication and cooperation, and in doing so "left open many avenues for the Governor and Legislature to work together to address" the COVID-19 Pandemic; and
Whereas, Justice Markman’s instructive opinions have guided both practice and the law. In this vein, his dissent while on the Court of Appeals in a 1997 Headlee Amendment case about determining what is considered a tax or a fee under the constitutional provision became the building blocks for the Supreme Court in Bolt v City of Lansing, 459 Mich 152 (1998) and the Legislature’s subsequent amendment of the law; and
Whereas, Justice Markman has written impactful dissenting opinions while on the bench, like his strong defense of the best interests of children in his dissenting opinion in favor of the "one-parent doctrine" in In re Sanders, 495 Mich 394 (2014), or the resounding dissent he wrote in support of self-defense in People v Richardson, 490 Mich 115 (2011), stating:
"This Court must continue to speak strongly and clearly on the right of self-defense, particularly with regard to the sometimes difficult and insecure environments of some of our state's largest cities; and because the instructional error here was far from harmless, implicating a quintessential right of a free society, on which the Second Amendment of our Constitution is predicated—the right of personal self-defense—I respectfully, but very strongly, dissent."
Whereas, Justice Markman's contributions have positively changed the way laws are interpreted, resulting in a more faithful application of the law. Notably, on the calculation of days and time in Haksluoto v Mt Clements Regional Med Ctr, 500 Mich 304 (2017), Justice Markman wrote for the majority, "There is no principled reason to treat the last day differently from any other—the abacus bead does not slide over until the day is over," ultimately holding that the statute of limitations period is tolled when a notice of intent is filed on the last day of the limitations period; and
Whereas, Justice Markman's work on the Supreme Court and his steadfast commitment to our state will be missed. His principled efforts and commitment to the rule of law will offer guidance to those who follow him into the legal field and the state's judiciary for years to come. Perhaps most importantly, his respect for the Legislature as an institution and the rule of law has unquestionably improved state government and, by extension, our society as a whole; now therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That we offer this expression of tribute to commend and thank the Honorable Stephen J. Markman for his notable contributions to our state; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to Justice Markman as evidence of our gratitude and best wishes.