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Friday, February 7, 2014

BREAKING: US Federal Judge Grant Plaintiffs A Constitutional Challenge for Michigan's Emergency Manager Law


Photo Credit - Washington Post
U.S. Federal Judge George Caram Steeh II ruled to reopen a case challenging the constitutionally of Michigan's controversial emergency manager law, Public Act 436 of 2012 on February 6.
"It is hereby ordered that plaintiffs may file their Proposed First Amended Complaint, which is attached as an exhibit to their motion," said Judge Steeh February 6.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and 21 citizens of Detroit, Benton Harbor and Flint filed a lawsuit in March, citing violations in Constitutional civil and voting rights with the implementation.

Civil right leader and National Spokesperson for the Change Agent Consortium Rev. D. Alexander Bullock believes Michigan residents opposing the legality of P.A. 436 deserve answers on if the law is constitutional. 

"The people of the great state of Michigan deserve answers about the constitutional concerns regarding Public Act 436. Despite the obstructionist politics of the Snyder administration it is important for this suit to proceed so the questions about the right to bargain collectively and vote can be definitively answered," said Rev. Bullock.
"Public Act 436 mirrors Public Act 4 – the very law that Michigan residents repealed in 2012. We are glad the wheels of justice are moving and trust that justice will prevail." 

Legal challenges were filed the day Public Act 436 took effect, 90 days after Governor Rick Snyder signed the law in December 2012. The measure granted expanded powers to state-appointed emergency managers to declare local communities bankrupt by overruling elected local governmental unit authority or objections. 
Plaintiffs filed a motion to reopen the case in January citing, "The State’s Emergency Manager Law, Michigan Public Act 436 of 2012 (P.A. 436), which gives Emergency Managers the authority to file municipal bankruptcies."
In July, U.S. Federal Judge Steven Rhodes ordered the Plaintiff's lawsuit on hold after ruling Detroit was eligible file an insolvency petition under the Chapter 9 Bankruptcy provision. Judge Rhodes in December agreed to lift the lawsuit stay, on the condition the suit wouldn't seek the removal or Detroit Appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr while bankruptcy negotiations with creditor continue.

The ruling by Judge Caram Steeh on February 6, opens to legal counsel representing the Plaintiff's an option to file an amended complaint seeking Orr's removal if the controversial State Emergency Manager law is found unconstitutional.

"This ruling means we can continue to seek justice for Michigan voters," said John Philo, legal director for the Sugar Law Center, one of several organizations representing the plaintiffs to MLive. "We intended to show that democracy and the rule of law trump the will of unelected officials."
CAC National Spokesperson Rev. Bullock appeared Independent Underground Radio LIVE February 6, discussing the aftermath of Detroit's Bankruptcy on City Residents.  Listen to the interview on Soundcloud at this link.
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