MCR 7.215(D)(4) says that

The Court of Appeals shall not direct publication if the Supreme Court has denied an application for leave to appeal under MCR 7.305.

What is the purpose of this rule?

  • 2
    Looking forward to an answer that explains why this is a Politics question and not one for Law...
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 12 '20 at 0:07
  • I'm guessing that it's because it asks about the purpose, which is often a political consideration? I don't think it is in this case, but I can see that as a proposed reason.
    – Bobson
    Jun 12 '20 at 4:31
  • @CGCampbell "What the law is" = Law question. "Why the law is what it is" = Politics question. It's conceivably possibly this is some common aspect of common law jurisprudence that has been codified into a law, but I don't think it is and on face value alone it's manifestly a Politics question. Jun 12 '20 at 5:00

I'm not specifically familiar with Michigan law, but...

In general, under American common law, "unpublished" opinions are not actually unpublished (i.e. the public can read them like any other). Instead, this adjective means that the opinion does not become binding precedent on future cases. This is most commonly done in one of two situations:

  • The case does not present any novel legal questions, the opinion breaks no new ground, and it's just not very likely to be useful to a future court. This is more common than you might expect, because a lot of dismissals at the appeals stage are something along the lines of "The trial court did nothing wrong, and its decision is therefore affirmed."
  • The case is so bizarre or disconnected from existing law, that the court does not believe it would make a good foundation for future decisions. This is rare.

In either event, making the opinion unpublished saves future lawyers, clerks, and judges the trouble of reading it and carefully considering its implications.

In this particular context, I would guess that this rule is intended to give the Supreme Court a measure of control over the development of Michigan common law, by preventing the lower court from publishing cases which the Supreme Court deems unimportant.

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