Civil Rights Attorneys File Suit Saying Michigan Law Clear: Old Emergency Manager Law Dead

September 27, 2012, Detroit –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  The governor and attorney general of Michigan have resumed use of a previous law, Public Act 72 (PA-72), that was repealed upon the enactment of PA-4.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.”
 “The rule of law and democracy are still under attack despite the suspension of PA-4,” said Benton Harbor Commissioner Mary Alice Adams. “It is discouraging that the state’s top elected official shows such little regard for the will of the voters that he is willing to ride roughshod over the law to keep emergency managers in place.”
“The emergency manager Act disproportionately impacts low income people and communities of color,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Darius Charney. “Gov. Snyder is trying to sneak around the law to keep them even more disenfranchised than they already are.”
The Sanders Law Firm, Melvin Butch Hollowell, Esq, PC, and Goodman & Hurwitz PC on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, Michigan chapter are co-counsel on the case, which is pending before the Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Michigan. Plaintiffs include City Council Members from Pontiac, Flint and Benton Harbor.
The Sugar Law Center, Center for Constitutional Rights, Sanders Law Firm, and Goodman & Hurwitz PC on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, Michigan chapter are also co-counsel on an earlier case, filed against PA -4, which granted emergency managers much broader powers than the law it replaced. 
For more information visit the case page here.

The Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice is a national non-profit, public-interest law center. Sugar Law Center provides legal advocacy, representation, education and technical support to empower community groups, workers’ rights groups and individuals seeking systemic change toward economic and social justice. Visit

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


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September 27, 2012