Graphic by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog
Steven Rhodes, the federal judge in charge of determining whether Detroit’s bankruptcy filing is legal, asked a fair question of state officials this week regarding the Republicans’ disregard for the will of the people in overturning Public Act 4, Michigan’s Emergency Manager law. The law was overturned in the 2012 election and then quickly replaced by a nearly identical law, Public Act 436, just a few weeks later.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes grilled a state attorney Wednesday about whether Michigan’s Legislature made “a mockery” of the referendum process when it passed a new emergency manager law a month after voters rejected the law last November. […]
What’s the point of giving people the power of referendum to reject a statute if the constitution is read to give the legislature the power to re-enact word for word the same statute voters just rejected? […]
Where is the substance of that right of referendum that the constitution gives the people if the legislature has the authority to thumb its nose like that?” Rhodes asked. “Why put the people through that?
That’s a question that many of us have been asking for the past 10 months. I would suggest that it’s because our current crop of patriarchal Republicans in the Michigan legislature (a) believes it knows better than the electorate what’s best for the state and (b) doesn’t give a damn what the voters think because they have gerrymandered their districts so effectively that they are going to be exceedingly hard to unseat.
In 2014, it’s up to us to prove them wrong on that latter point.