Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder successfully pushed through the state legislature a wildly unpopular measure, dubbed Public Act 4, this spring that gives power to “Emergency Managers,” to essentially take over entire local governments and wipe out any union contracts all in the name of supposedly restoring financial stability.
Today, as noted by Daily Kos’s Eclectablog, 28 Michigan residents represented by public interest groups lodged a lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court on the grounds that it is a constitutionally flawed law. (The complaint is available at A2Politico.com.) The measure signed into law by Snyder (pictured), prompted massive protests at the state capitol.
Eclectablog notes that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit charges that the law violates several provisions of the Michigan Constitution, including “the rights of local voters by delegating law-making power and the power to adopt local acts to unelected emergency managers, by suspending the rights of local electors to establish charters and to elect local officials, and by imposing substantial new costs and expenses upon local municipalities without providing new revenue.”
Bill Goodman, an attorney for the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice, one of the groups representing the Michigan residents, told the Detroit Free Press, “This law violates one of the basic principles of democracy, where people get to vote and no one can impose a dictator on them. That is what this legislation does. It’s a power grab by Lansing politicians that’s going to affect communities across the state.
Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Sanders Law Firm, Miller Cohen PLC, and Goodman & Hurwitz PC are also involved in representing the Michigan plaintiffs.
Darius Charney, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “The emergency manager law is abuse of executive power at the state, as opposed to federal level. It’s another example of how, throughout the country, working people and communities of color are being blamed for, and forced to bear the burden of the economic downturn that was caused by Wall Street and corporate interests.”
As Eclectablog notes, the lawsuit is not the only challenge to Snyder’s law. Michigan Forward has launched a petition drive to put the law before voters on the 2012 ballot.