Michigan Judge Rules That Detroit Bankruptcy Violates State Constitution

The Attorney General says he will appeal. posted on

Rebecca Cook / Reuters

A vacant, boarded up house in the once thriving Brush Park neighborhood in March 3.

One day after the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, a circuit judge in Ingham County has ruled that the move violates state law.

The judge’s primary concern is that the bankruptcy will lessen city employees’ pensions, which is prohibited in the Michigan Constitution, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

“I have some very serious concerns because there was this rush to bankruptcy court that didn’t have to occur and shouldn’t have occurred,” Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told the newspaper. “Let’s get this moving to the Court of Appeals, because that’s where you all are headed.”

From her ruling:

“In order to rectify his unauthorized and unconstitutional actions … the Governor must (1) direct the Emergency Manager to immediately withdraw the Chapter 9 petition filed on July 18, and (2) not authorize any further Chapter 9 filing which threatens to diminish or impair accrued pension benefits.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office said he will appeal the ruling immediately, “seeking emergency consideration,” a spokeswoman said.

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