We've been talking on the show this week about how the pushback against really, really big conservative government is happening in the courts. In Michigan, for example, voters who don't like the emergency manager law that lets the state take over local governments (like the financially stressed ones on the watchlist mapped above) have started a campaign to put that measure on the ballot for possible citizen repeal.
But as of today, they've also sued. The Michigan Messenger reports that a group of plaintiffs represented by the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice is asking a county court to declare the law, Public Act 4, unconstitutional. Among the plaintiffs is a city commissioner of Benton Harbor, the first town in Michigan to have its elected officials stripped of all power.
There's no question that the places we've covered in relation this law are in trouble. Benton Harbor and the Detroit Public Schools are both broke and probably also broken. The question is whether taking away their democracy should be part of fixing them. From the new lawsuit (pdf):
The provisions of the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act establish a form of local government that is repugnant to the constitutional liberties of Americans under settled law, as well as the rule of law itself. Under this new form of government, the people become subject to a form of governance where an unelected local official wields absolute power over all aspects of local government and whose decisions are without review by either local elected officials or local voters.
It's worth noting that Benton Harbor is home to the Whirlpool corporation, whose CEO recently told the Detroit Free-Press that the mostly black and poor town suffers from an "outdated political structure."