Skip to main content
A Better Partnership
September 23, 2009

COA Opinion: Detroit residents will vote on city council representation proposal

On September 22, 2009, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Wayne County Circuit Court, holding that the Circuit Court should have granted a stipulated order of mandamus ordering the Detroit city clerk to place on the November 2009 general election ballot a proposal regarding the composition of the Detroit City Council. Specifically, the Court of Appeals directed the Detroit city clerk to place on the ballot the following question: "Shall the Detroit City Charter be amended to provide for a total of nine members of City Council with one (1) council member, with district residency, elected from each of seven (7) districts and two (2) members elected at large[']"

Though a writ of mandamus is "an extraordinary remedy," the Court found each of the four elements for mandamus were present. Those are: "(1) the party seeking the writ has a clear legal right to performance of the specific duty sought, (2) the defendant has the clear legal duty to perform the act requested, (3) the act is ministerial, and (4) no other remedy exists that might achieve the same result." Once the Detroit city clerk canvassed the petitions and certified their sufficiency, she was required under MCL ' 117.25(3) to submit the proposed amendment to the voters in the November election; correspondingly, the voters have the right to consider that proposal when voting in November. Further, the Court found the act of placing the proposal on the ballot was purely ministerial and no other adequate remedy was available. The Court also found that the stipulated ballot language was sufficient under the Home Rule City Act, specifically MCL ' 117.21. Accordingly, the Court reversed the decision of the Wayne County Circuit Court and ordered the Detroit city clerk to place this question on the November 2009 general election ballot.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -