Michigan Court Strikes Down Challenge to DPS Emergency Manager

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The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the repeal of Public Act 4, the state's most recent emergency manager law, effectively reinstates the previous such measure, known as Public Act 72. According to MLive and other media outlets, the court's ruling struck down a lawsuit filed by Highland Park school board member Robert Davis, who sought to challenge the appointment of Roy Roberts as the emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools.

Roberts himself had indicated to Gov. Rick Snyder earlier in the month that he may voluntarily quit his position if P.A. 4 was struck down by voters in the elections. Michigan residents voted to repeal P.A. 4 on Nov. 6.

Here is some of the key information to emerge from the court's ruling, and the situation regarding Roberts' appointment.

* According to the MLive report, the court ruled that the repeal of P.A. 4 by voters on Nov. 6 effectively repealed all aspects of the law, including the portion of its wording which stated that P.A. 4 replaced P.A. 72. Therefore, the court decided that P.A. 72 is back in effect.

* Davis had argued that the repeal of P.A. 4 also made P.A. 72 null and void, and that therefore, Roberts could not hold his position as the emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools.

* Instead, Roberts will now hold his position under the statutes of P.A. 72. According to the Detroit News, Roberts was appointed under P.A. 72 while P.A. 4 was suspended pending the elections on Nov. 6. Roberts is allowed to stay in his position because his most recent appointment did not occur under P.A. 4.

* Davis told the Detroit News and other media outlets on Friday that he was pleased with the decision by the court, because now he can take his case to the Michigan Supreme Court. He has said that he plans to file with the Michigan Supreme Court on Monday.

* Davis' lawsuit was challenged at the Michigan Court of Appeals by state Attorney General Bill Schuette. According to a Detroit Free Press report, Schuette had argued that the repeal of P.A. 4 had placed P.A. 72 back into effect, which was essentially what the court ruled on Friday.

* The Detroit News quoted part of Schuette's response to the lawsuit, in which he said that the voter repeal of P.A. 4 had the legislative effect of wiping the slate clean, as if the measure itself "had never existed," which, he argued, left "in place, and intact, P.A. 72."

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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