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GOP leaders ask abortion case judge to recuse herself

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The Michigan Legislature’s Republican leaders want the judge who blocked enforcement of the state’s abortion ban to remove herself from the case. They’ve also called on Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher to lift her injunction and allow the ban to take effect.

The motion filed Tuesday argues Gleicher should remove herself because she represented Planned Parenthood in an abortion rights case in 1997 and because she’s made financial contributions to the organization.

Gleicher was assigned the case after Planned Parenthood challenged Michigan’s abortion law that was rendered dormant by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Gleicher put a hold on the 1931 law, which would have otherwise taken effect after the US Supreme Court reversed Roe. The Legislature’s GOP leaders have taken on the role of defending the ban against a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

From the Republican motion:

“Disqualification is necessary to ensure that this consequential case is decided by an unbiased judicial officer and to avoid the appearance of impropriety and to maintain public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system.”

The argument also notes Gleicher has donated to the campaigns of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats and vocal proponents of abortion rights.

An attorney for Planned Parenthood said there’s no basis for the motion, and a reply will be filed soon.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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