Michigan Supreme Court Embroiled in Pronoun Battle Prompted by ACLU—Thomas More Law Center Joins Fray

ANN ARBOR, MI — On Monday, May 1, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) filed its written opposition in the Michigan Supreme Court challenging the wisdom of a proposed amendment to Michigan Court Rule 1.109, which would require all judges in the state to refer to parties and attorneys by any personal pronoun they select.

Erin Elizabeth Mersino, TMLC’s Chief of Supreme Court and Appellate Practice, authored the eight-page opposition to the proposed rule.  She commented that the proposed amendment “is the ACLU’s latest attempt to destroy the very fabric of our nation by subjugating our inalienable right to free speech to mandatory endorsement of its transgender agenda.”  The proposed amendment is so extreme, judges will no longer be able to make judgments on a case-by-case basis.  Failure to use a requested pronoun could result in the judge being punished for violating the court rule by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

The pronoun controversy erupted when Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Mark Boonstra criticized the other two members of the three-panel court over their use of the Defendant’s preferred pronoun in a concurring opinion in People v. Gorbick.  The Defendant, convicted of multiple counts of criminal sexual abuse on children and self-identifying as having multiple personality disorder, told the court he wanted to use the preferred pronoun, “they” and “them.”  Judge Boonstra expressed his concern for blindly following such a request and wrote that the court “should not be altering its lexicon whenever an individual prefers to be identified in a manner contrary to what society throughout human history has understood to be immutable truth.”

Read Judge Mark Boonstra’s one-page concurring opinion here.

The ACLU along with 18 other LGBTQ organizations including the LGBTQA section of the Michigan State Bar Association sent a letter to Chief Justice McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court and Chief Judge Gleicher of the Michigan Court of Appeals condemning Judge Boonstra’s words.  The letter also suggested that judges undergo “cultural competency training [a.k.a. indoctrination camp] which would include training on the use of pronouns.”

The proposed amendment to the court rule provides:

“Parties and attorneys may also include any personal pronouns in the name section of the caption, and courts are required to use those personal pronouns when referring to or identifying the party or attorney, either verbally or in writing. Nothing in this subrule prohibits the court from using the individual’s name or other respectful means of addressing the individual if doing so will help ensure a clear record.”

Read TMLC’s written opposition to the proposed rule here.

Although the proposed rule covers judges only, TMLC is concerned that this is the first step down the slippery slope.  If the ACLU and its allies succeed in forcing pronouns on judges, the next demand will be on the lawyers, and then all the people.

Richard Thompson, TMLC’s president, observed, “Every freedom-loving American must be alert to this form of thought control.  By controlling our use of language, the ACLU seeks to control our ability to discern and think.  The “name your pronoun game” has become the absurd obsession of a significant number of large corporations, many law firms, and of academia.  Now, this variation of wokeness poses a danger to our national security as the U.S. Navy is foolishly using a drag queen video in an attempt to increase recruiting. Ignoring the disastrous financial consequences of having a drag queen promote Bud Light beer, the U.S. Navy sees nothing wrong with using a drag queen to attract young men with similar bizarre sexual eroticism [autogynephilia] to infiltrate their fighting ships.”

Click here to view a short video of the Navy’s Drag Queen Digital Ambassador.

Thompson continued, “The ACLU has become an instrument of tyranny.  If the Michigan Supreme Court adopts the proposed amendment, it will be up to Michigan judges to stop this madness.”

This proposed amendment creates a serious constitutional problem.  It would compel judges to adopt and express a uniform viewpoint that affirms the ACLU’s extreme position on gender identity ideology.  It flies directly in the face of the First Amendment.  The proposed rule also reflects the sad state of our society where the far-left cares more about misgendering and offending the feelings of a convicted pedophile than it does about upholding free speech and the inalienable rights protected by the United States Constitution.

The Thomas More Law Center’s written opposition concludes:

“The State Bar of Michigan has no right to force this compulsion.  In its ostensible effort to be ‘tolerant’ or ‘diverse,’ it would, in fact, be enacting the least tolerant court rule in all its history.  It would be taking a side in the culture war—one that it knows would alienate all of its members who disagree with the amendment for religious, political, moral, personal, constitutional, or scientific reasons.”

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

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