Mich Court of Appeals rules in favor of zombies, allows PA 72 to be resurrected


This is why we need to be thinking about the 2014 midterm election

Back in August, I wrote about how the repeal of Public Act 4 — Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager Law — would, by law, leave Michigan without any law creating Emergency Managers or Emergency Financial Managers. I showed pretty clearly how the law prevents PA 72, the predecessor to PA 4, from coming back.

This week, the Michigan Court of Appeals chose to completely disregard the Michigan constitution and, in essence, allow the resurrection of Zombie Law PA 72 anyway.

The state Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts lawfully holds office because he was appointed under Public Act 72, the state’s weaker emergency manager law.

In a one-page opinion, presiding Judge Kirsten Frank Kelly wrote that no part of Public Act 4 remains in effect as the result of the Nov. 6 election, and the section of P.A. 4 repealing P.A. 72 — Michigan’s prior emergency manager law — did not survive the referendum and has no effect.

“Roberts was appointed under P.A. 72 after P.A. 4 was suspended and lawfully holds office,” Kelly wrote for the court.

Here’s the problem with this continued pretzel logic being used by conservatives to get what they want: the law is VERY clear about what happens to statutes repealed by new laws that are struck down. Section 8.4 of the Michigan Compiled Laws which says:

Revised Statutes of 1846 (EXCERPT)

8.4 Effect of repeal of repealing statute.

Sec. 4.

Whenever a statute, or any part thereof shall be repealed by a subsequent statute, such statute, or any part thereof, so repealed, shall not be revived by the repeal of such subsequent repealing statute.

History: R.S. 1846, Ch. 1 ;– CL 1857, 3 ;– CL 1871, 3 ;– How. 3 ;– CL 1897, 51 ;– CL 1915, 65 ;– CL 1929, 77 ;– CL 1948, 8.4

You don’t need to be a lawyer, much less an Appeals Court judge, to understand that. But that is exactly what Judge Kelly did. She seems to parse the words “repeal” and “suspend” in such a way that the latter allows PA 72 to come back to life while the former blows it to pieces with a double-barreled shotgun (because anyone who has seen Day of the Living Dead knows that’s the only way to kill a zombie.)

I even created this handy flowchart to help these people to understand the situation. The “Bill” mentioned in the flowchart is uber-conservative Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette who first made the ruling that PA 72 — the Zombie Law — would rise from the dead with the repeal of PA 4:

It’s pretty astonishing that an Appeals Court justice is so flagrantly disregarding the law. I can only hope the Supreme Court isn’t so cavalier.

[CC zombie image credit: Michael-Chapman.com]