Whitmer v. Linderman | In re Executive Message (Governor v. Prosecuting Attorneys)
Description: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed the lawsuit—which seeks to invalidate a 91-year-old Michigan law that prohibits the providing of abortions—on the premise that the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade later this year. The defendants are 13 county prosecutors in jurisdictions with abortion clinics.
Michigan pro-life groups seek to intervene in defense of law protecting unborn children
LANSING, Mich. – On behalf of Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a motion Friday at the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene in a lawsuit to defend a state law that protects unborn children. ADF attorneys, along with counsel at The Smith Appellate Law Firm and Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, filed the motion in the case, Whitmer v. Linderman.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed the lawsuit—which seeks to invalidate a 91-year-old Michigan law that prohibits the providing of abortions—on the premise that the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade later this year. The defendants are 13 county prosecutors in jurisdictions with abortion clinics. The governor has asked that the case be certified for immediate Michigan Supreme Court review rather than allowing the case to proceed in the trial court and Court of Appeals, as is typical.
Whitmer v. Linderman is strikingly similar to another case filed in the Michigan Court of Claims earlier this month, Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Attorney General of the State of Michigan. In that lawsuit, ADF attorneys, along with the same co-counsel, filed a friend-of-the-court-brief Wednesday urging the Court of Claims to dismiss the case and uphold the law.
“Every human life is valuable and worthy of protection under the law,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch, who served as Michigan’s solicitor general from 2011-2013. “Gov. Whitmer should be doing everything in her power to uphold existing laws that protect the innocent and vulnerable lives of the unborn. Instead, both she and the attorney general are attacking a law that was rightly enacted by the people of Michigan and has been serving them well for more than half a century. We urge the court to listen to the voices of those standing up in defense of the unborn—Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference—by allowing them to intervene in this lawsuit.”
The motion to intervene argues that Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference should be given the opportunity to defend Michigan’s pro-life law where the governor and the attorney general have chosen to attack it. And the brief opposing certification explains that it would be entirely improper for the Michigan Supreme Court to short-circuit proceedings in the lower courts and decide an entirely hypothetical legal issue.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position. Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.