Appeals court hearing arguments on emergency manager law

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DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court is hearing a dispute over Michigan’s emergency manager law.

In 2014, a judge in Detroit swept aside most claims in a lawsuit by critics. But he allowed the case to go forward on whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution by having a disproportionate impact on communities with large black populations.

The appeals court heard arguments Thursday in Cincinnati.

Emergency managers, like the one that was appointed for Benton Harbor a few years ago, have exceptional power to run local governments and school districts, while elected officials typically are pushed aside for 18 months or more.

Michigan voters overturned Gov. Rick Snyder’s first emergency manager law in 2012. But he and fellow Republicans in the Legislature came back with another version.

An emergency manager ran Detroit while it was in bankruptcy.

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