Union, retirees argue against Detroit bankruptcy - New York News

Union, retirees argue against Detroit bankruptcy

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(Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Protesters outside Detroit Federal Courthouse (Credit: WJBK|myFOXDetroit.com) Protesters outside Detroit Federal Courthouse
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Very passionate and technical arguments on Tuesday as attorneys for Detroit city unions and retirees present reasons why the city's historic Chapter Nine filing should be denied.

Federal Judge Steven Rhodes is holding hearings ahead of next week's trial to determine whether Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

Retiree committee attorney Claude Montgomery says bankruptcy shouldn't be allowed. The committee wants to prevent state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr from cutting municipal pensions as he tries to rid Detroit of $18 billion or more in debt. Unions and retirees say pensions are protected by Michigan's Constitution. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has said federal bankruptcy law supersedes state law.

But outside protesters, who have attended many of the hearings, seem to say that it is unconstitutional for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to pretty much do anything. And of course, who is going to protect the rights of the pensioners?

What was interesting in court today, is that bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes seemed to ask attorneys if the state of Michigan guarantees pensions, shouldn't the state of Michigan then have to guarantee that they pay for those pensions if in fact Detroit goes bankrupt? Rhodes said Orr's July 18 bankruptcy petition hasn't resulted in payments being cut and questioned if the pension arguments are premature.

Hearings are expected to continue tomorrow and next week and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will more than likely also testify to give his thoughts on why in fact Detroit is bankrupt and is in need of bankruptcy protection.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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