This blog has been getting a lot of visits from people looking for information about the ballot proposals in Michigan this year, and I don't think my analysis of proposal 10-2 is quite up to par. So, here's an update.
As a reminder, proposal 10-2 would bar people within a broad class of felons from holding public office, whether elected or appointed, where they have authority over public money. This proposal is a bad idea and should be defeated on Tuesday, for the following reasons:
- First, as it applies to elected officials, the proposal would take away voters' discretion to elect people who they think are up to the job. If there is a person who has violated the public's trust, people won't re-elect them, unless there's some other reason for the voters to trust the person. Voters in a particular election will be better at weighing the various factors than voters in this election can be at weighing the hypothetical. For this reason alone, the broad language of the proposal should be voted down.
- When it comes to high-level appointed officials, the proposal would take away the discretion of the elected officials who make those appointments. Like voters who pick elected officials, the officials who make the appointments will be better able to weigh the various factors on a case-by-case basis.
- The proposal takes away judicial discretion. It might be appropriate to make a prohibition on future office-holding a possible punishment for certain crimes, because in that circumstance judges could weigh the factors. But for that to work, they would need discretion.
- This proposal would create an unconstitutional ex post facto punishment when applied to people who have already committed the crimes referenced in the proposal. If they've already been sentenced, we shouldn't restrict their liberty more after the fact.
I encourage everyone to vote NO on Proposal 10-2.