Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) will ask Michigan’s voters to elect him to a second term this November.

Running on the slogan “Michigan’s voice for victims,” over the past three years, Schuette has been involved in issues affecting a variety of constituencies, ranging from college students to Detroit pensioners. As his campaign ramps up, he’s picked up endorsements from several groups, including police officers and small businesses. His Democratic challenger is Mark Totten, a Michigan State University law professor.

Gay marriage

In March, a district court struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, which was approved by voters as an amendment to the state constitution in 2004.

Schuette, who represented the state in defense of the ban, filed for an appeal and an emergency stay on the decision. Both were granted, which means the change will not go into effect until the appeal is settled. Oral arguments were heard in the case this August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Schuette’s decision to defend the ban drew attention because many other state attorney generals, especially in the wake of a 2013 Supreme Court decision against parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, have declined to defend similar litigation. Additionally, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that state attorney generals are not required to defend the bans.

“In 2004 the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable,” Schuette said in a March statement on his choice to appeal the ruling. “Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our State constitution, and their will should stand and be respected.”

Rape kits

Five years ago, the city of Detroit discovered more than 11,000 rape kits — evidence collected during investigations of alleged sexual assault — that had not been processed or tested.

Schuette, along with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, announced a $4 million state appropriation to expedite testing the kits last year. The funding came from settlement money in national and state cases litigated by Schuette in his capacity as attorney general.

“Every woman who was a victim of sexual violence deserves a full and complete investigation, and these funds will begin the road to justice for those who have already waited too long,” Schuette said in a press release at the time.

An additional $3 million allocation was approved in the fiscal year 2015 budget for the attorney general’s office to prosecute cases related to the kits.


Schuette announced this February that he, along with several other state attorney generals, joined a federal lawsuit against a provision in the Affordable Care Act. Schuette supported the plaintiffs in the suit, a group of individuals and small businesses.

The case hinges on whether states with healthcare exchanges set up by the federal government, as is the case in Michigan and 33 other states, are eligible for federal tax credits to subsidize the cost of healthcare for individuals with financial need.

The ACA includes language meant to incentivize states to set up their own exchanges by offering the tax credits specifically to state-run exchanges.

The case is currently before the D.C. Court of Appeals. Without the financial support from the credits, a large number of individuals could feasibly opt out of the ACA’s individual mandate requirement for coverage.

Affirmative action

In 2012, Schuette faced a legal challenge to another state ban, this one on affirmative action, approved by the voters in 2006 and prompted by a previous case against the University’s admissions practices.

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban earlier this year, after Schuette appealed a decision by the 6th Circuit Court to overturn it. In his original petition to the Supreme Court asking for a review of the 6th Circuit decision, Schuette cited issues of unequal treatment, which he argued affirmative action promoted. The state’s argument has received both criticism and support in the University community over the past eight years — and raised questions of voter disenfranchisement and protection of the state constitution, similar to the gay marriage ban.


Schuette filed to intervene in the deliberations on behalf of the city’s pensioners, a significant group of the city’s creditors, during the June 2013 bankruptcy settlement case in Detroit.

He argued that the pensioners, who at points in the proceedings were projected to receive only 66 percent to 95.5 percent of their pensions had a right to their pensions under the state’s constitution. This position was not shared by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in the city’s original plans to move out of bankruptcy.

For his actions to protect civil service pensions, Schuette was endorsed by the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association Tuesday.

“We endorse Bill Schuette for reelection because he fought for us, and our pensions, when no one else did,” RDPFFA President Donald Taylor said in a statement.

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