Snyder Wants High Court To Rule on Emergency Manager Law

August 18, 2011

Sugar Law Calls Move To Bypass Other Courts ‘Troubling’

DETROIT– The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, which has filed suit challenging Michigan’s emergency manager law as unconstitutional, said today that they will oppose Gov. Snyder’s request to bypass normal court procedures by having the state Supreme Court take immediate control of the case.

Snyder on Friday asked the high court to take immediate control over the case.

“The mentality behind the emergency manager law is that fair process doesn’t matter, input from all stakeholders doesn’t matter, and decisions are better if they are simple and fast,” said John Philo, Legal Director of the Sugar Law Center. “This rush to the Supreme Court reflects the same attitude, and shows a fundamental mistrust of the state’s established judicial system.”

“The nature of our courts is that the initial fact-finding and introduction of critical evidence occurs at the circuit court level,” said Philo. “It is troubling that the Governor wants to skip that phase.”

Sugar Law represents 28 plaintiffs from throughout Michigan who filed suit against Michigan Public Act 4, the emergency manager law, in Ingham County Circuit Court on June 22. On Friday Governor Snyder filed an “executive message” with the Supreme Court asking that the case be certified to go directly to the Supreme Court.

The citizens’ lawsuit says the emergency manager law violates the Michigan Constitution by:

  • Suspending home rule, by giving managers power to repeal local laws, ordinances, charters and contracts
  • Effectively eliminating citizens’ rights to vote for and petition local government on matters of local concern
  • Violating the separation of powers, by allowing the executive branch and its agencies to exercise legislative duties
  • Allowing the Legislature to enact unfunded mandates, by using local taxpayer dollars for such purposes as managers’ salaries and staff

The Sugar LawCenter for Economic and Social Justice is serving as the lead counsel for the 28 citizens. Sugar Law is joined by attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Sanders Law Firm, Miller Cohen PLC, and Goodman & Hurwitz PC on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, Michigan chapter 

Governor Snyder Executive Message to Michigan Supreme Court:  http://www.sugarlaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Executive-Message-Aug-2011-Re-Brown-v-Snyder.pdf

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