Mike Duggan is off the ballot to become Detroit's next mayor, according to one of his many mayoral opponents, Tom Barrow, after an emergency hearing held in Wayne County's Third Circuit Court.
"Mike Duggan is off the ballot," Barrow told The Huffington Post, "and it was clear from the very beginning that he never qualified. I am now going to call for the removal of the Detroit City Clerk for incompetence."
Barrow originally filed a claim stating that Mike Duggan had not fulfilled the residency requirement for office, but the Detroit Election Commission voted 2-1 against him on May 23. Tuesday afternoon's emergency hearing, held at Barrow's request, was presided over by Chief Judge Pro Tem Lita M. Popke.
"It's an incredibly great day for the rule of law and order and for justice," he said.
Duggan's spokesman John Roach confirmed to The Huffington Post that the hearing had indeed ruled against Duggan, but indicated that an appeal could be forthcoming.
"This ruling is contrary to the opinion of every election lawyer who has looked at the case," he said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. "We're reviewing our legal options with our lawyers and will make a decision shortly on how we'll proceed."
"Just to be clear, I was not one of the candidates who challenged Mr. Duggan's residency; however, I always believed that the charter was unambiguous. The charter, approved by Detroit voters in 2010, is very clear on this issue to prevent people from moving into the city with no knowledge of the issues facing Detroiters," said Sheriff Benny Napoleon, another candidate for mayor, in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. "Our movement for this city and vision to transform Detroit one square mile at a time does not change in any way because of this outcome today."
When voters approved a new city charter in 2011, the language called for any candidate for political office to be a "resident and a qualified and registered voter of the City of Detroit for one year at the time for filing for office." The commentary accompanying the charter noted that residency requirements make it "more likely that elected officials will be intimately familiar with the unique issues impacting their communities." (See a PDF of the Detroit Charter's language on residency requirements for city officials.)
Duggan filed his paperwork to run for mayor on April 2, 2012, but did not register to vote in the city of Detroit until April 16, according to NAACP Detroit General Counsel Butch Hollowell, who spoke to The Huffington Post earlier in defense of Duggan.
The filing deadline was May 13. That's 13 months of residency," he said. "It's obvious from the charter and the commentary under the charter provision that the intent is to make certain that the candidate is a bonafide resident. There is no question as to whether Duggan met that one year requirement."
Barrow said Duggan should avoid any more legal challenges before the mayoral primary in August. "He should stop now, don't waste any more of the governor's money," Barrow said. "He can return back to Livonia, where I am sure they will hold a ticker tape parade for him."
He also called Duggan an outsider. "This man wasn't a Detroiter," he told The Huffington Post. "We can bring back our city -- we don't need a messiah. The Messiah came 2,000 years ago, and he wasn't from Livonia."
On Twitter, Detroiters expressed confusion, outrage and joy over the news. Many of the responses were of the three-letter variety, from wow to WTF, but below, find some of the more thoughtful takes: