Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Michigan Supreme Court Will Not Review Witness' Religious Rights In Being Sworn

The Michigan Supreme Court in Donkers v. Kovach, 2008 Mich. LEXIS 1182 (MI Sup. Ct., June 13, 2008), denied leave to appeal a decision upholding the right of a witness to refuse for religious reasons to raise her right hand when being sworn in. (See prior posting.) However three judges dissented. In an opinion by Judge Markman they said: "plaintiff offered no explanation for her refusal to act in accord with the law other than vaguely claiming that she holds contrary 'religious beliefs'.... Even if factual developments established this as a bona fide "free exercise" claim, I would still not affirm the Court of Appeals, but rather would grant leave to appeal to determine under what standard such claims are to be evaluated in Michigan...."