Judge Upholds law that Created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority

Line 5 Legal Challenge Update

Michigan Court of Claims Judge, Stephen Borrello, has upheld the state law that created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (Public Act 359). Although he ruled that the 6-year terms for members of the authority established by the law was unconstitutional, he maintained that the appointments themselves — "and all the trappins of decision-making associated therewith" remain valid. The Michigan constitution states “Terms of office of any board or commission... shall not exceed four years except as otherwise authorized in this constitution.” Judge Borrello ruled that members can only serve for four years, the maximum allowed under the Michigan Constitution.

"The unconstitutional length of the term of office does not affect the authority of otherwise validly appointed board members," Borrello said. In fashioning a remedy, the court must "remain mindful of the Legislature’s intent and strike only those provisions of the statute that are unenforceable," Borrello said in ruling that authority members appointed to six years can only serve four.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is expected to announce an opinion on the law's constitutionality in the coming weeks.

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