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Judge: Emergency Financial Manager Will Face Constitutionality Case in Michigan

Since its conception, the "Emergency Financial Manager" law has faced passionate opposition.

Since its conception, the “Emergency Financial Manager” law has faced passionate opposition.

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A judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has ruled that a challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s controversial Emergency Manager law can move forward.  The news eliminates a major hurdle in the legal process for Public Act 436 opponents.

All lawsuits against the city had been stayed when Detroit formally entered bankruptcy, but Judge George Caram Steeth’s decision will allow this case to move forward. The Sugar Law Center will be allowed to question the constitutionality of the law but cannot call for the removal of current Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.  

John Philo, legal director for the Sugar Law Center, claimed that Gov. Snyder was delaying the inevitable (via Eclectablog):

“It was blatantly wrong, a clear stalling tactic for the governor to claim that our constitutional challenge to the Emergency Manager Law put us in the same boat as those who are owed money by Detroit,.  This ruling means we can continue to seek justice for Michigan voters. We intended to show that democracy and the rule of law trump the will of unelected officials.”

The Sugar Land Law Center began its challenge to Public Act 436, titled the “Local Financial Stability and Choice Act,” two days after the law went into effect.  Since late March of 2013 their lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon has been in legal limbo.  PA 436 allows a city facing what it deems to be a “financial emergency” to “decide between a consent agreement, emergency manager, neutral mediation with creditors, or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.” By appointing emergency managers, however, the governor and his team angered residents because they created situations in which people wered placed in power without being voted on by the public.

“The right of Michigan voters to choose their leaders is so fundamental that we have to remain vigilant and steadfast,” Virginia Romano, executive director of Sugar Law Center, said. ”The constitution is on our side and we have to believe that, in the end, the rule of law will prevail.”


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