Civil rights law groups file suit against Snyder administration to halt use of Emergency Financial Managers


Zombie fighters are on the case

In early August, after an intentionally absurd legal battle, Public Act 4 — Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law — was repealed. Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately declared that the former version of the law, Public Act 72 — the Emergency FINANCIAL Manager law — was back in force. The lengths to which Schuette went to justify this decision were nothing short of epic.

Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:

Bill Schuette wants to create a Zombie Law that rises from the dead to walk the earth again. And his justification is that he can resurrect the zombie because the law that killed it is still on the books. But if the law is still on the books, then PA 72 is still dead!

The pretzel logic and mental gymnastics required to follow the reasoning behind Schuette’s opinion is off the charts. I’m sure this will end up in the hands of the Supreme Court once again. In the meantime, Governor Snyder, Treasurer Dillon and all of the Emergency Managers will continue on as if nothing has happened because, in their lofty view of the state of Michigan, they can do whatever the hell they want because there is almost nobody in a position of power to stop them.

Well, a group of zombie slayers has stepped up to stop this undead law in its tracks. The Sugar Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, attorneys from the Sanders Law Firm, Melvin Butch Hollowell, Esq, PC, and Goodman & Hurwitz PC on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, Michigan chapter have joined forces and filed a lawsuit to stop the imposition of Public Act 72 from continuing.

From their press release:

The Sugar Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel have filed a lawsuit against Michigan Gov. Richard Snyder for his administration’s attempt to keep the controversial emergency managers in place despite the suspension of the law pending a referendum in November that puts Public Act 4 (PA-4) up for direct vote by the people of the state. The governor and attorney general of Michigan have resumed use of a previous law, Public Act 72 (PA-72), that was repealed upon the enactment of PA-4.

“At this moment, there is no law authorizing the use of emergency managers in the state of Michigan,” said John Philo, Legal Director of the Sugar Law Center. “The suit we filed is based on the obvious fact that there cannot be emergency managers without the legal framework to support them. The new law has been suspended and the old law is dead.”

It may be too little, too late at this point. In just 40 days, the voters of Michigan will decide if Public Act 4 is dead or not. If it IS dead, it’s clear that Public Act 72 to CANNOT be resurrected as was pointed out by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. On the other hand, if Public Act survives the election, this lawsuit will be moot.

Meanwhile, a suit filed by Sugar Law and others in 2011 appears to have stalled out in the Supreme Court. Court documents related to the case and a timeline of events that basically ends in exactly a year ago can be found HERE.

[CC zombie image credit:]