Michigan Rep. John Conyers: Emergency Manager law violates the US Constitution

The Emergency Manager law, Public Act 4, is alread being challenged on two fronts. First with a petition drive by Michigan Forward to put it on the 2012 ballot as a referendum. They are nearing their signature goal and, once they have enough signatures certified, the law is immediately put on hold.

Second, the Sugar Law Center and its partners are challenging the constitutionality of the law, saying it’s a violation of the Michigan state constitution.

Yesterday, Congressman John Conyers opened a third front. He’s asking the Justice Department to investigate the Emergency Manager law for potential violations of the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe the Justice Department has ample authority to review and if necessary challenge this unilateral exercise of power towards the city of Detroit,” Conyers wrote in his three-page letter. “I would ask the department to do so expeditiously, given the very high stakes and very limited time frame.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has made no decision whether to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit.

Conyers said the state’s law might violate the federal Voting Rights Act. He said that because the emergency manager law has been used in numerous cities with high proportions of African-American and minority populations, and could be used in Detroit, “it would be perpetuating the discrimination on an even more egregious scale.”

He said the law violates the constitutional right to a “republican form of government in the states.” Conyers cited U.S. Supreme Court rulings that guarantee people a democratically elected form of government and argued that appointment of an unelected manager is contrary to the “concept of democracy.”

As I reported yesterday, if Detroit is put under the control of an Emergency Manager, 49+% of Michigan African Americans will be without a representative government.

It’s a three-front war on this anti-democratic, anti-American law. I like that.

I like that a LOT.

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