Media Contact

Dana Chicklas, 

July 30, 2021

DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) applauds the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling, which allows Detroit residents to vote on the City of Detroit’s proposed charter. Earlier in June, the ACLU joined with the Sugar Law Center in filing an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief on behalf of four legal scholars, who support placement of the proposed charter on the ballot, to enable Detroit residents to have a say in how their government functions.  
A statutory question before the Michigan Supreme Court was: if Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not approved the City of Detroit’s proposed charter, are city residents permitted to vote on their own municipal government and voice how they wish to be governed? Previously, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals, by a vote of 2-1, ruled against the Detroit Charter Revision Commission, preventing Detroit residents from voting on their own city’s charter because it had not been approved by the Governor. 
Mark P. Fancher, ACLU of Michigan’s Racial Justice Project staff attorney, has this reaction: 
“The Michigan Constitution provides a clear democratic vision of how state government should work when there is statutory silence or ambiguity. The default interpretation should generally favor the voters, not politicians. The Governor’s decision not to approve the proposed Detroit Charter should be treated as the political act it was intended to be, and not as a democracy-blocking veto. The power belongs to the people to have the final word on how their city is run.”