Michigan Attorney General to challenge changes to Detroit pensions

Jul 27, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state constitution protects Detroit pension benefits from being reduced or eliminated by the city’s bankruptcy.

Schuette says he will be in court Monday asking to join the case on behalf of pensioners.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes took control of lawsuits challenging the bankruptcy filing because it puts city pension benefits in jeopardy. But he has not ruled on the substance of the question, which is whether the benefits are shielded by protections in the Michigan Constitution.

In a written statement, Schuette says his office wants to be there if and when that issue is raised to argue public employee benefits are protected.  Schuette’s office also represents Governor Rick Snyder in the proceedings.

This could put Schuette at odds with the governor and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in the future. Pension funds are among the city’s biggest creditors.

Schuette says his office is equipped to represent both sides if it comes to that.