DESMOND M. WHITE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
HIGHLAND PARK ELECTION COMMISSION, HIGHLAND PARK CITY CLERK, and HIGHLAND PARK CITY COUNCIL, Defendants-Appellees and CITIZENS UNITED AGAINST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT, Plaintiff,
Circuit Court. LC No. 15-010104-AW.
DESMOND M WHITE, Plaintiff-Appellant: ANDREW A PATERSON,
HIGHLAND PARK ELECTION COMMISSION, Defendant-Appellee:
NIKKIYA T BRANCH, DETROIT, MI.
MURRAY, P.J., and TALBOT and K. F. KELLY, JJ. MURRAY, P.J.
M. Murray, P.J.
Desmond M. White, appeals as of right the trial court's
final order dismissing plaintiffs' verified complaint for
a writ of mandamus and declaratory relief. We affirm.
Mich.App. 572] In this election-related case, plaintiff White
challenged multiple policies and acts of defendant Highland
Park Election Commission, but most of the issues raised in
the complaint were resolved between the parties prior to the
circuit court's rulings at issue on appeal. What was left
for the circuit court to decide was whether MCL 168.674(2)
required the Commission to appoint one or more Republican
election inspectors. The parties agreed that, of all those
who had submitted applications to the Commission to be
appointed an election inspector, none had designated
themselves as a Republican Party representative. Based upon
that undisputed fact, and relying upon both MCL 168.674(2)
and (3), the trial court held that: (1) plaintiffs lacked
standing to challenge the political party composition of the
election inspectors because state law gave that right to the
county chairs of a major political party, and (2) in any
event, the Commission did not violate MCL 168.674(2) because
no Republican representatives had submitted applications to
be election inspectors.
agree with the trial court that plaintiff White lacked
standing to sue for a perceived violation of MCL 168.674(2).
Standing exists, according to the Court in Lansing
Schools Ed Ass'n v Lansing Bd of Ed, 487 Mich. 349,
372; 792 N.W.2d 686 (2010), when there exists a legal cause
of action or a plaintiff meets the requirements of MCR 2.605.
Lansing Schools Ed Ass'n sought to return
Michigan standing jurisprudence to what it was prior to
Lee v Macomb Co Bd of Comm'rs, 464 Mich. 726;
629 N.W.2d 900 (2001) and Nat'l Wildlife Federation v
Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co, 471 Mich. 608; 684 N.W.2d 800
(2004). Prior to those decisions our Court had stated,
amongst many other principles, that a plaintiff must assert
her own legal rights and cannot rest her claim on the legal
rights or interests of third parties. See, e.g., In re
EP, 234 Mich.App. 582, 598; [312 Mich.App. 573] 595
N.W.2d 167 (1999), rejected on other grounds by In re
Trejo Minors, 462 Mich. 341; 612 N.W.2d 407 (2000).
MCL 168.674(2) provides no legal cause of action, neither to
plaintiff White nor to any other member of the public, to
enforce its provisions. Nor does plaintiff White, who as to
this issue is no different than all other members of the
public (and she did not even allege that she was a resident
of Highland Park, where the electors would have been
working), have a substantial interest in seeing the statute
enforced. Lansing Schools Ed Ass'n, 487 Mich. at
372. Indeed, the statute explicitly gives the right to
enforce the political party designations to the major
political party county chairs, MCL 168.674(3), which is
consistent with other parts of the statute that allow those
same county chairs to submit names on behalf of their parties
to city election officials for use as election inspectors.
See MCL 168.673a and MCL 168.674(1). As noted, the statute
does not provide for a civil cause of action, but instead
provides county chairs with the ability to file
administrative appeals to challenge certain inspector
appointments. MCL 168.674(3) and (4). In essence, the
Legislature has created a form of public enforcement through