Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

03/29/76 ADVISORY OPINION ON CONSTITUTIONALITY 1975

March 29, 1976

ADVISORY OPINION ON CONSTITUTIONALITY OF


Williams, Coleman, Fitzgerald, and Lindemer, JJ., concurred. Ryan, J. (concurring in part and Dissenting in part). Levin, J. (dissenting). Kavanagh, C. J., concurred with Levin, J.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- Advisory Opinion.

An act to regulate political activity which creates a state campaign fund for gubernatorial candidates, regulates lobbying activities, requires financial disclosure by candidates and their families, provides requirements for establishment of candidate committees, and repeals acts concerning legislative agents, general election laws, conflict of interest, and ethics, embraces more than one object and is therefore in violation of the title-body clause of the state constitution (Const 1963, art 4, § 24; 1975 PA 227).

2. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- Severability.

Severability is not available in cases challenging constitutionality of a statute on the ground that it embraces more than one object; the prohibition makes the whole act void (Const 1963, art 4, § 24).

3. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- More Than One Object.

The term "object" as used in the constitutional provision that no law shall embrace more than one object was not meant to have unlimited breadth; if the provisions of the law might have been enacted in separate laws without in any way referring to or affecting one another, then they embrace more than one object (Const 1963, art 4, § 24).

Opinion Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part

Ryan, J.

See 1-3.

4. Courts -- Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Advisory Opinion.

A determination in an advisory opinion by the Supreme Court that a statute is unconstitutional because it embraces more than one object terminates the life of the statute and there remains no legislation on which the Court may later express an opinion of constitutionality.

Dissenting Opinion

Kavanagh, C. J., and Levin, J.

5. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- Advisory Opinion.

An act whose stated object is to regulate political activity and which accomplishes its one primary object by regulating the pre-campaign political activity of candidates and electors, by imposing limitations on the post-election political activity of elected and appointed public officials and those who would influence their decisions, and, through the Political Ethics Commission, by providing a means of implementing and enforcing such regulations, does not violate the title-body clause of the constitution because it has only a single object (Const 1963, art 4, § 24).

6. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- "Object".

The word "object" in the title-body clause of the constitution expresses an intrinsically elastic concept; especially in the case of a codification, the Legislature is free to conceive of the object of its endeavors in terms of a common denominator and to express that conception in umbrella words (Const 1963, art 4, § 24).

7. Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Title-Body Clause -- "Object".

The ultimate question in deciding whether an act violates the title-body clause of the constitution is not the congruity of its provisions, but whether there is one object (Const 1963, art 4, § 24).

8. Courts -- Statutes -- Constitutional Law -- Advisory Opinion.

Once the Supreme Court has declared an act unconstitutional, to issue further advisory opinions on the act involves the Court in the legislative process (Const 1963, art 3, § 8).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

The Supreme Court granted a request by the House of Representatives for an advisory opinion to review ten specific questions of law concerning the constitutionality of 1975 PA 227 (Enrolled House Bill 5250), an act to regulate political activity. In a per curiam opinion by Williams, Coleman, Fitzgerald, and Lindemer, JJ., it was held: Public Act 227 of 1975 was unconstitutionally enacted in violation of Const 1963, art 4, § 24, the "title-body" clause, because it embraces more than one object. This opinion was issued in order to inform citizens of the act's unconstitutionality before its effective date; the Court intends to issue a second opinion dealing with the nine remaining issues.

Ryan, J., concurred in the Conclusion that the act is unconstitutional but Dissented from the portion of the per curiam opinion which stated an intention to issue a second opinion on the constitutionality of the act. A determination of unconstitutionality terminates the statutory life of the act and there remains no legislation on which to issue an advisory opinion.

Levin, J., with whom Kavanagh, C. J., concurred, Dissented on the grounds that the stated object of the act is to "regulate political activity" and all its provisions are germane to that single object. The act accomplishes its one primary object by regulating the pre-campaign political activity of candidates and electors, by imposing limitations on the post-election political activity of elected and appointed public officials and those who would influence their decisions, and, through the Political Ethics Commission, by providing a means of implementing and enforcing such regulations. A unifying theme and concern of the act is money for votes: the legitimate use of money to influence the votes of the electors (in political campaigns) and to influence the votes of elected and appointed public officials (through lobbyists); and the corrupt use of money to buy the votes of public officials. To issue further advisory opinions on a statute which has been held unconstitutional involves the Court in the legislative process, something that the phrase "after it has been enacted into law" in the section of the Constitution on advisory opinions was intended to prevent.

Statute declared unconstitutional.

On August 27, 1975, Governor William G. Milliken signed Enrolled House Bill 5250. *fn1 This legislation was designed "to regulate political activity". The Act created the Political Ethics Commission as an autonomous entity within the Department of State and provided for its composition, powers and duties (§§ 31-50); provided requirements for the establishment of candidate committees (after defining "candidate" to include an elected officeholder) and provided for the filing of statements of organization and reporting of contributions and expenditures (§§ 51-98); set maximum limits on expenditures by candidates for certain offices (§§ 83-84); established a State Campaign Fund with a diversion of certain taxpayer-designated portions of income tax revenues to the fund for distribution to qualifying gubernatorial candidates (§§ 101-105); proscribed conflicts of interest (§§ 121-127); required designated individuals to file ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.