As I reported two days ago, Autumn Smith, the organizer for the recall effort against Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, is being systematically thwarted at every step by Bolger's friends and lawyers. I shined a light on her situation with my blog (and by crossposting at Daily Kos, Blogging for Michigan and My.Firedoglake.) I also got in touch with some Democratic friends who are lawyers and posted a link on Tony Trupiano's Facebook Page. Trupiano is a Detroit-based progressive radio talk show host with a show called First Shift with Tony Trupiano.
I'm pleased to report several things. First, Autumn is getting a tremendous amount of support from around the country. Her recall Facebook page, "Recall MI Speaker of the House Jase Bolger" is getting a LOT of attention.
Also, Autumn is now getting some legal advice from a very solid Democratic attorney. He's not representing her but he is giving her good advice on what her path forward might look like.
Third, Autumn was on First Shift with Tony Trupiano yesterday morning. You can listen to the podcast of her "appearance" HERE. She was a great guest; poised and eloquent.
Finally, the folks at FireRickSnyder.org are helping out Autumn financially by setting up an Act Blue page for her. If you would like to help out with Autumn's situation, check her Facebook page for updates on when the Act Blue link goes live.
I want to clarify Autumn's situation a bit. The Temporary Restraining Order filed by Bolger's top-dollar law firm is not against Autumn herself. Rather, it is against the Calhoun County election commission who are enjoined from considering any different petition language submissions from Autumn. However, this is a very slick and backhanded move on their part. Here's the timeline:
- May, 2011 - Autumn submits petition language and which is then rejected
- June 13, 2011 - Autumn has a clarity hearing on six additional language submissions. Two of these are approved but, due to a minor mistake in the title, she is asked to amend them during the hearing, which she does.
- At the suggestion of the election commission, Autumn immediately resubmits one of the two approved petition languages so that there is no issue with her correcting it during the hearing -- this would give her a single, clean petition language approval. The hearing on this scheduled for June 24th (yesterday).
- On the afternoon of June 23rd, Bolger's lawyers are granted a Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction against the election commission, prohibiting them from hearing Autumn's "clean" petition language submission and, simultaneously file appeals against the two they did approve.
In the process of filing the paperwork for all of this, they also file a "Motion for Ex Parte Order Allowing Brief in Excess of Page Limit". Why did they do this? Because the two appeals they file are nearly two-hundred pages in length and Calhoun County charges Autumn $1 per page for a copy. In other words, they make it impossible for her to get the paperwork by making it too expensive.
So, in summary, they stopped the election commission from hearing Autumn's clean petition language submission, appealed the first two since the election commission oddly allowed her to amend them during the hearing, and then submitted briefs so long that there is no way Autumn can afford to see them prior to the appeal hearing.
This is how the Speaker of the House of Michigan, a Republican, is treating a citizen exercising her constitutionally-protected rights. It it slimey. It is anti-democratic. It's immoral. And this is exactly why Autumn's recall against Bolger needs to be successful. He is the antithesis of the type of person we should have making our laws, much as the Speaker of the House.