Politics

Judge halts Detroit bankruptcy

Judge halts Detroit bankruptcy

Here’s another taste of the degenerate union-dominated Democrat political culture that erased Detroit from the map with fifty years of bombardment: a county judge has ordered the Detroit bankruptcy filing withdrawn, and one of her reasons was that the filing does not “honor” Barack Obama.

From Detroit News:

Ruling the governor and Detroit’s emergency manager violated the state constitution, an Ingham County Circuit judge ordered Friday that Detroit’s federal bankruptcy filing be withdrawn.

“It’s absolutely needed,” said Judge Rosemary Aquilina, observing she hopes Gov. Rick Snyder “reads certain sections of the (Michigan) constitution and reconsiders his actions.”

The judge said state law guards against retirement benefits being “diminished,” but there will be no such protection in federal bankruptcy court.

The constitutional issue she’s referring to is a provision written into the Michigan constitution that says “the accrued pensions benefits of public employees shall not be diminished or impaired,” as her ruling put it.  As a Detroit News article from June makes clear, the Governor and his emergency manager were fully aware of this provision, and most legal experts believe it will be superseded by federal bankruptcy court.  But the union bosses and their Democrat Party apparatchiks managed to get a friendly judge to throw a little tantrum and stage a costly court battle anyway, just to slow things down and prolong Detroit’s agony.

If this provision of the state constitution could actually trump federal bankruptcy law, the results would be mind-boggling.  Detroit doesn’t have any way to raise more money to pay its debts; only a fool would buy its bonds, and it’s down to thinking about selling off the city’s art collection, which includes the original Howdy Doody marionette.  Would Detroit be able to raid the paychecks of Michigan residents outside the city for money to pay off those fat union pensions?  How about seizing their cars and homes to liquidate them for cash?

As for the future of the city, if this whack-job judge’s order stands, you can kiss it goodbye.  No sane investor in the world would spend a dime in Detroit, knowing that the all-powerful claims of union pension beneficiaries transcend every other law, and there’s no telling what the cash-starved city government could seize next.  The shareholders of any company that contemplated expanding into Detroit would bounce the CEO out of office, possibly through the window of his executive suite.

The judge was very upset that the Governor moved so quickly to file those bankruptcy papers, before the unions had time to file for a temporary restraining order.  Funny, but I recall just the other day that abortion fanatics were celebrating the defeat of abortion regulations in Texas through a mob action that shouted down the legislature, which caused voting to run a few minutes past the deadline.  Apparently sometimes deadlines for legal actions matter, but other times they’re just abstract limits that can be shifted around at the convenience of one party or the other.

Which brings us to the editorial section of Judge Aquilina’s performance:

With rumors it was imminent Thursday afternoon, attorneys representing the pension boards hurried into Aquilina’s court in Lansing to ask for a temporary restraining order.

But Snyder and Orr beat them by a few minutes. Aquilina, informed by phone, allowed the pension board lawyers to revise their restraining order request, then granted it.

Prior to her ruling on Friday, the judge criticized the Snyder administration and Schuette’s office over their hasty move.

“It’s cheating, sir, and it’s cheating good people who work,” the judge told assistant state Attorney General Brian Devlin. “It’s also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy.”

Southfield attorney John Canzano, representing several pension plan members, said bankruptcies of cities such as Stockton, Calif., have been handled in a way that didn’t compromise pensions.

“I know he’s watching this,” the judge added, expressing confidence that the President would step in to protect those pension plans.  How fitting.  That’s just how they do things in places like Cuba and Venezuela, throwing in ritual invocations to the Dear Leader from the bench.  As for other pension plans surviving bankruptcy proceedings without compromise, well, Detroit’s pension obligations make up fully half its debt, and the liability bomb is still in the process of detonating.  An even bigger one hangs over Washington D.C.  The old model of taxpayers indentured to keep union benefits coming is broken beyond the repair of any madcap judge to fix with a court order.

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