Politician, voted out in April, finds law she supported in 2011 now negatively effects her family.

And now she’s trying to get said law declared unconstitutional.

Cue Nelson Muntz.

Schadenfreude at it’s best.

Although, I have to wonder what she was thinking when she approved strengthening that law, and I’m hugely surprised that the constitutional question hasn’t come up before.

Then again, maybe the universe is giving us some “what goes around comes around” for amusement.

Does a Judge at that level even have the authority/jurisdiction (?) to rule on the constitutionality of a law?

Sure. All laws are subject to constitutionality.

But only Supreme Court (state or Federal) rule that way. (I think)

Well, admittedly, I’m not an expert, but Wikipedia says in the US, any court (including trial court - not even appellate) has the power of judicial review. That is, not only spring the accused, but strike down the law.

You’d be suprised what people can blind themselves to. My city (Royal Oak, MI) just passed a civil rights ordinance that bans real or perceived discrimination against a number of factors. You might be asking: How do you ban the perception of discrimination? That’s an excellent question, which AFAIK none of the law’s supporters have an answer to. The law is almost certainly unconstitutional, and many people worry that it will be used to harass people who oppose gay marriage.

It goes through lower courts first, although it’s rare to see the first judge hearing the case to rule on constitutionality. I would think that any who do do so with the assumption that a higher court will eventually look at it.

Only the Supreme’s declaring a law unconstitutional affects the whole country.

Any such ruling only affects the people that court/judge has jurisdiction over. So a law can be in force in Minnesota, but not Texas. But the USSC generally steps in at some point to apply a national ruling.

Not true, all federal courts (probably with some exceptions) can rule on the constitutionality of a law. But those rulings may only apply to the jurisdiction of that court, and they can always be appealed up the chain which ends at the Supreme Court.

And state courts. And no exceptions.

[unserious pie-in-the-sky thought] I wonder what legislating would be like if we demanded that every elected representative could only vote for a specific law if they could show unambiguous evidence that they would be negatively affected by that law? Might make them think a bit harder. [/upitst]

Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Rules

Yes. You file a lawsuit in a trial court. If you lose, you can appeal to a higher court. Trial judges, in my experience, will usually apply the law as written and interpreted, leaving questions of constitutionality for higher courts to resolve, except in rare and fairly extreme cases.

My state, and probably most others, has a rule that anytime the constitutionality of a statute is challenged, the Attorney General must be noticed and given an opportunity to appear to defend the statute.

She was thinking it applied to other people.

So that was the logic? How does that make sense? You don’t need to kick someone out in order to build up a case against them. Heck, you’d think that would make it harder. While they are still there, they might do something else that warrants police attention, giving you enough evidence to make a charge.

I think the law was created to allow them to circumvent the legal system, to punish without having to have even probable cause, let alone a conviction.

I don’t understand. The law says that if enough neighbors complain about you, you can be kicked out of your house? That cant’ be right, can it? Would that be true even if he were the home owner?

In that case that would be because the ordinance would have been drafted poorly. Extended antidiscrimination laws are not supposed to ban “real or perceived discrimination on the basis of [protected categories]”, but to ban “discrimination on the basis of real or perceived [protected categories]”. That is, the defendant is liable under the law if you can show her intent was to act on the basis of [category], irrespective if the aggrieved parties actually are that [category] or not.

The OP case, of course, is another example of someone who thought this tough new law would be applied against “those OTHER people”. Sweet taste of their own medicine.

I think you’re misreading it. The “build a case against them” is for the nuisance thing. What the article is saying is that the old law said the city could declare your property a “chronic nuisance property” and make you move out if you had 3 violations in 60 days, but she voted to extend that to 3 violations in 90 days, thereby making it easier to make a case under that law. There’s a copy of the law, btw.


That law says 2 complaints within 60 days, so…

Well I hope anyone that was booted out of their home since this law was put into place is paying close attention. Perhaps they will be entitled to some damages.