About Green Gavels

What is Green Gavels?

Green Gavels is a first-of-its-kind citizen accountability tool for the Michigan Supreme Court. For the first time, Michigan citizens who care about conserving our environment will be able to clearly understand how Michigan's highest court impacts our land, air, and water. 

Michigan is one of 38 states which elect justices to their highest courts. However, many citizens know little about their justices except their names, if that. Green Gavels pulls back the curtain and allows citizens to clearly see how Michigan's justices have decided environmental and conservation cases.

The Green Gavels Project

Green Gavels is a cooperative project between the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Law and Policy Program at the University of Michigan Law School. Law student volunteers under the supervision of Prof. David Uhlmann researched and wrote objective summaries of every Michigan Supreme Court environmental case in the last 30 years, which were then peer-reviewed by fellow students and faculty.

Michigan LCV thanks the following students for their hard work and dedication on this project, with special thanks to student editors Jack Dafoe and Johanna Dennehy, whose tireless effort and attention to detail made this project possible:

Jack Dafoe, Johanna Dennehy, Randall Abbott, John Atchley, Nathaniel Boesch, Stuart Chipman, Chris Fryefield, Brianna Iddings, Savera Qazi, Jeremy Keeney, Jenna Trebs, Bo White, Susan Shutts

Michigan LCV then analyzed the cases and summaries to assign a rating to each justice's decision and to the case as a whole. Green, yellow, and red gavels clearly rate the positive, neutral, or negative impacts the decisions and cases had on environmental protection and conservation in Michigan. Michigan LCV ratings were assigned by a staff panel of attorneys and peer-reviewed by a bipartisan advisory board comprised of some of the most well-respected attorneys in Michigan. Each case was reviewed by four advisory board members and no member reviewed any cases in which he or she represented a party or presided in a judicial capacity. 

Green Gavels Advisory Board

Hon. Alton Thomas Davis, Jeff Jocks, Riyaz Kanji, Grant Parsons, Tim Smith, Susan Topp, Bruce Pregler, Jeffrey Haynes

Holding Elected Officials Accountable...

Michigan LCV is the political voice for protecting Michigan's land, air, and water. Green Gavels is the newest addition to our robust citizen accountability suite, which also includes our Legislative Scorecard and How Green Is Your Governor?. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that works to elect and hold accountable elected officials who will champion the conservation of Michigan's natural resources and environment.