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provide for the time and manner of the nomination and election of justices of the peace, is a valid and constitutional enactment; and that the provisions of the charter of the city of Detroit, adopted pursuant thereto, which are in said information more fully described, are likewise valid.
"IV. That the nomination of candidates for the office of justice of the peace to fill the vacancy, and the subsequent election held and conducted on the 7th day of April, 1919, as in said information set forth, were and are valid and legal in every respect; and that in consequence the said Arthur E. Gordon was duly elected to the office of justice of the peace to fill said vacancy.
“V. That upon the election and qualification of the said Arthur E. Gordon, as in the information alleged, it became and was the duty of the respondent to immediately surrender said office and to deliver the records and effects thereunto pertaining to the said Gordon.
"VI. That in becoming and being a candidate for the nomination and election to fill said vacancy, as in the information set forth, the respondent recognized the validity of the provisions of the charter of the city of Detroit, in accordance with which the nomination and election were conducted, and consented to the form and procedure observed, which said form and procedure was in all respects as required by said charter.
"VII. That the said charter provisions, and the said provision of Act No. 279 of the Public Acts of 1909, as amended, above referred to, are not invalid, either in whole or in part for the reasons set forth in respondent's plea or for any other reasons whatsoever.
"Wherefore, the relator says that the said plea of the respondent is not sufficient in fact or in law and prays the judgment of this court that the said respondent may be ousted from the said office of justice of the peace in and for the city of Detroit.”
No suggestion was made that issues be framed or that it was desired that testimony be taken. The cause therefore came on for hearing upon the pleadings.
If the act under which respondent was appointed is alone to be considered, it is at once apparent that we must go, to find the period for which respondent was appointed, to section 27 of Act No. 475 of the Local Acts of 1903. Having been appointed pursuant to this law, respondent's right to the office expired, in terms of the law, at the next general election. The term general election means, as here used, the general election held in November in the even years. It cannot be doubted that the reference to a general election in section 27 is to the general election also mentioned in section 2 of the act.
But it is asserted by the attorney general that respondent's right to the office terminated at the time when by election the vacancy could be filled and that this time is fixed by the revised charter of the city as the biennial spring election in 1919. In other words, we are to consider the question as though section 27 of Act No. 475 of the Local Acts of 1903 was amended by the revised charter of the city of Detroit so as to fix the period of the appointment as expiring at the date fixed in the charter for the election of justices of the peace. We are agreed that respondent's tenure of office was limited by the day of the election at which the vacancy in the office was required to be filled, and, being so agreed, address ourselves to the principal question debated, which is whether the city had power to provide in its charter for an election of justices of the peace at a different time than the one named in the local act.
Justices of the peace are constitutional officers in whom, by the Constitution, is vested a part of the judicial power of the State. After providing that not to exceed four justices shall be elected in each organized township of the State, the Constitution (art. 7, § 15) says, “The legislature may provide by law for justices in cities.” The Constitution further provides, article 8, § 20, that the legislature shall provide by a general law for the incorporation of cities and, section 21, under such general law the electors of each city shall have power and authority to frame, adopt and amend its charter and to amend an existing charter of the city heretofore granted and passed by the legislature for the government of the city and through its regularly constituted authority to pass all laws and ordinances relating to its municipal concerns, subject to the Constitution and general laws of the State. The legislature has provided by a general law for the incorporation of cities, and in that general law has made especial reference to justices of the peace. The section, 1 Comp. Laws 1915, § 3331, as amended by Act No. 275, Pub. Acts 1917, is here set out:
"In all cities now organized, which may hereafter amend or revise their charters under the provisions of this act, all of the provisions of the present law, whether general or special, applying to any such city relating to the qualifications, term of office, powers, jurisdiction, duties and compensation of justices of the peace and constables therein, and the conduct of all proceedings, suits and prosecutions before such justices of the peace and appeals therefrom, and all laws creating municipal courts and the proceedings thereof in any such city, shall remain in full force and effect, except as to the time and manner of nomination and elections of judges, justices and court officers: Provided, That any city may in its charter provide for and limit to one or more the number of justices of the peace and may provide that the civil jurisdiction of such justice or justices shall be increased to five hundred dollars with such exceptions and restrictions as are provided by law; and may also in its charter, or by ordinance, provide that any justice of the peace shall be paid a salary, in lieu of fees, the amount of said salary to be fixed by said charter or ordinance, in which case all fees chargeable by such justice of the peace shall be collected by him and shall be forthwith paid into the city treasury: Provided, further, That any justice of the peace or municipal judge provided for by municipal charter in accordance with the provisions hereof shall have the same jurisdiction as is or may be conferred by law on justices of the peace in townships in both civil and criminal matters."
In view of the purpose and language of the Constitution, we regard the words employed in this section of the general law as meaning that cities may determine the time and manner of nominating and electing justices of the peace. If such authority may be delegated by the legislature to cities, we regard this as a sufficient delegation of authority.
Assuming that justices of the peace are an integral part of the judicial system of the State, they are nevertheless local officers and their selection is matter purely of local concern. No one excepting those directly charged with their nomination and election have any possible interest in the subject of when or how their selection shall be brought about. We find sanction for the delegation to the city of the power to fix the time of their selection in the provisions of section 21, article 8, of the Constitution.
It follows that judgment of ouster must be entered.
BROOKE, J. I concur with Justice OSTRANDER upon the main question involved, but agree with Justice FELLOWS that the spring election of 1919 was a general election.
STEERE, STONE, and KUHN, JJ., concurred with BROOKE, J.
FELLOWS, J. I am not persuaded that the term “general election” found in section 27 of Act No. 475, Local Acts 1903, has reference solely to the general election mentioned in section 2 of the act. Section 2 by its express language provides for the election of justices of the peace:
"At the general election held in November, in the year nineteen hundred and four, and every two years hereafter."
Section 27 authorizes the common council to fill a vacancy in the office of the justice of the peace, "until the next general election,” and does not limit the term "general election” to the general election held in November of the even years as does section 2. The office in question is a judicial one, and I am impressed that the election held April 7, 1919, at which Justices of the Supreme Court, regents of the university and other State officers were elected was a "general election” for the election of judicial officers. People v. Burch, 84 Mich. 408, 417. Respondent's appointive term, in my judgment, expired on this date. For this reason I concur in the judgment of ouster.
BIRD, C. J., concurred with FELLOWS, J.
WOLFE v. CITY ELECTION COMMISSION OF DETROIT.
This case is controlled by Attorney General v. Bolton, ante,
Certiorari to Wayne; Codd, Chester, and Williams (Benjamin), JJ., presiding. Submitted October 8, 1918. (Calendar No. 28,514.) Decided July 17, 1919.
Mandamus by Louis H. Wolfe and another to compel the city election commission of the city of Detroit to place their names upon a primary ballot. From an order denying the writ, plaintiffs bring certiorari. Affirmed.