Report: Mich. AG takes assistant off lawsuit

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 21, 2011


LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has reportedly removed an assistant attorney general and wife of a state Supreme Court justice from a federal lawsuit involving Michigan's emergency manager law.

In 1990, Public Act 72 established the state's power to intervene in units of local government that experience financial emergencies.

Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that allows the state to assist earlier when local units of government are in financial distress instead of waiting until they are on the brink of bankruptcy.

The move ensures residents are not cut off from basic services and protects taxpayers from having to bailout municipalities that fail to take action.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office told the Detroit News on Tuesday that Justice Stephen Markman's wife, Kathleen, has been taken off the federal case after lawyers challenging the law in state court asked Markman to recuse himself.

John Sellek, a spokesman for Schuette's office, told the newspaper that Kathleen Markman will be replaced on the federal case to "eliminate any unnecessary distraction."

The city of Detroit's pension boards filed suit in federal court seeking to block the emergency manager measures.

Soon after, 28 citizens, represented by the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, filed a challenge to the toughened law in Ingham County Circuit Court. They argue that it usurps home rule.

Snyder says he wants that case sent directly to the state's high court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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