Justice Hathaway to retire amidst federal accusations

Diane Hathaway announced she will retire from the bench on January 21.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway announced today she will retire from the bench two weeks from today after the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint against her.

The complaint called for her immediate suspension from the bench for alleged "blatant and brazen violations" of judicial conduct rules that were "unprecedented in Michigan judicial disciplinary history."

Among the accusations in the complaint is that Hathaway submitted false answers to the Commission during its recent investigation of private real estate transactions by Hathaway which are the subject of an FBI investigation.

The Detroit Free Press reports the complaint gives details into the alleged efforts by Hathaway and her husband, attorney Michael Kingsley, to misrepresent their net worth in an effort to qualify for a short sale on their home in Grosse Point Park.

Hathaway's potential retirement would mean that Gov. Rick Snyder could name her replacement, increasing the Republican majority to 5-2 instead of the current 4-3.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says that given the gravity of the allegations and the complaint, "it is in the people's best interest that Justice Hathaway step down from the bench."

"Too many public corruption scandals have damaged the public's trust in government and tarnished our state's reputation," Schuette said. "I expect Governor Snyder will move quickly to appoint a successor, and that the work of our state's highest court will soon move forward without further hindrances."

Matt Frendewey, director of communications for the Michigan Republican Party, is urging the Democrat to forgo her pension.

"Democrat Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway should have resigned months ago and her decision to resign is purely designed to protect her lavish pension paid for by the tax payers she lied to and embarrassed.

"I am urging Diane Hathaway to do what is right by forfeiting her public pension so taxpayers are not required to financially support a scandal ridden judge who lied to investigators and continues to face legal recourse from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Democrat Diane Hathaway violated the public trust while in office and the public should not be compelled to support our reward her unethical and illegal behavior."