Rev. Jesse Jackson challenges Detroit EFM as unconstitutional

Jackson: 'Detroit cannot be reduced to a rummage sale'

Published On: Mar 22 2013 11:20:09 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 27 2013 09:52:05 PM EDT

The Reverend Jesse Jackson was in Detroit Friday calling for residents to hold a nonviolent protest against the appointment of Kevyn Orr as the city's Emergency Financial Manager.

READ: Detroit EFM protestors snarl traffic on I-94 near Lodge Freeway

Jackson was joined by Congressman John Conyers and Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson.

They said they are planning to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Detroit's EFM law, which takes effect Thursday, early next week.

READ: Detroit City Council members clash at Tuesday night community meeting

The civil rights leader told the Associated Press that turnaround expert Kevyn Orr's appointment by the state is a "constitutional crisis" because it usurps local control.

Jackson said, "Detroit cannot be reduced to a rummage sale."

Detroit’s Democratic Reps. John Conyers and Gary Peters are asking the General Accounting Office to investigate Michigan’s emergency manager law.  The congressmen made their request in a letter sent to the agency Thursday, one week after bankruptcy expert Kevyn Orr was appointed Detroit's emergency financial manager.

Conyers and Peters asked the office to "conduct a study of the Michigan emergency manager law, including the operation of federally funded programs." 

READ: Detroit emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr's back taxes still unpaid

In a statement, Conyers says it’s "difficult to identify a single instance where an emergency manager has succeeded in turning around the financial fortunes of a city or jurisdiction."

Emergency managers have wide-ranging authority to mend a city's budget.

Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse and Allen Park are other cities currently under state oversight.