The entire premise of this article is inaccurate and incredibly unfair to Justice Mary Beth Kelly.
I don't dispute that Harriet Miers would have been a huge gamble. I don't dispute that conservatives have been burned again and again when it comes to judges, with Souter being a prime example. I also don't dispute that conservatives must ask tough questions and should seek people with a proven commitment to the rule of law. But that is where the agreement between this article and myself ends.
First, Justice MB Kelly has proven to be a terrific Justice on the MSC, anything but a "rotten egg." She DID have a solid record in the trial courts, serving as Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit in desperate need of reform, which she brought. And upon election to the MSC, she has overwhelmingly with her fellow Rule of Law judges on most cases, advocating for results that are based in textualism. Anyone who has watched the Court in the last year and a half can tell you this--they have taken some very tough votes on tough cases, but done so in accordance to what the law requires. But even if you assume that MB Kelly got it wrong with regard to the EFM law (not necessarily true--see below), one bad decision does not a bad judge make! Rule of Law judges do not agree all the time: yes, they are applying the same reasoning and tools, but they may come to different outcomes, and doing so in some cases does not make them unprincipled or bad judges. I just about fell out of my seat when I read the comparison of MB Kelly to David Souter--as an avid court-watcher, I say this with all sincerity: almost nothing could be further from the truth.
Second, with regard to the EFM case in particular, you perhaps should read the Court's opinion in that case. Six justices total (three R-backed, three D-backed) rejected the governor's position to keep the EFM repeal off the ballot. While this case has been portrayed in the media as a 4-3 case with MB Kelly joining the Dems, it was actually 6-1 in this regard. Two other R-backed justices, while rejecting the governor's legal position, nevertheless thought that there was a factual issue remaining and would have remanded for more evidence to be had. Moreover, all four of the R-backed Justices (the "Rule of Law" justices on the Court) voted to reject substantial compliance as a sufficient legal theory, which otherwise allows non-complying ballot proposals to qualify for a ballot anyway. Thus, with regard to the legal issues in the EFM case, MB Kelly got things precisely correct; she only disagreed with her conservative colleagues on the factual question.
Third (and what I will say here may be a bit controversial to some people): we as conservatives are supposed to want judges who will do the right thing, no matter how much that person disagrees with the politics of it! That is what sets us apart from the left: we believe in the Rule of Law, which means that even if it leads to bad results for us, we want our judges to judge things as the text of the Constitution or statute or contract or whatever requires. If you are voting for a judge because you want him/her to come to politically expedient conclusions for conservatives in cases that come before the Court, then you are not voting based on the Rule of Law. Being a judicial activist is being a judicial activist, regardless of whether your conclusions are "conservative" or "liberal." And as conservatives, we are supposed to be above that.
I am not on here stumping for Colleen O'Brien, or for/against Jane Markey, or defending Robert Young (although HE has done more for conservative legal thinking in Michigan than probably anyone in the past several decades--to suggest as the author does that he is only presumably a judicial conservative or that he is supporting faux-conservative judges to the courts is absolutely absurd). And although this could be labeled a defense of Mary Beth Kelly, that is only partially the case.
I just think that people need to be informed. As a trial judge, Colleen O'Brien doesn't have an opinion record, but she does have a record as a judge and she should be questioned about it. As a Court of Appeals judge, Jane Markey does have a record of her opinions (some of which are very questionable) and she should be questioned about it. One doesn't "need" to be a COA judge to be a good judge on the MSC, but the bottom line is that whoever is chosen must prove herself to be committed to the rule of law. People: make an informed decision, and do not let the false analogy in this article distract from that. And for heaven's sake, please do not let the fact that a judge has, once, voted for a case where you may disagree with the outcome sour you on a person's entire judicial philosophy or record.