Amicus Brief

Oshtemo Charter Township v MPSC and METC at MSC Supplemental Brief

Case Year: 2016
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: rights of way, right of way, public utility facilities, electric transmission facilities, Michigan Constitution, home rule authority
Amicus Counsel:

Robert E. Thall (P46421) | Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman P.C. | 458 West South Street | Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007-4621 | 269-382-4500

CoAmicus Parties:

1. The LDF joined the Michigan Townships Association (MTA) brief
2. The State Bar of Michigan Public Corporation Law Section


Following oral argument the Court ordered supplemental briefs with regard to the meaning of “public utility” as used in the Michigan Constitution of 1963. This Supplemental Brief is being offered to assist the Court with regard to the determining whether electric transmission facilities are public utilities under said Article VII Section 29. The importance of this case cannot be understated as it involves core legal principles regarding interpretation and application of the Michigan Constitution. Specifically, the issue is the constitutional authority granted to municipalities requiring a public utility to get consent for use of the public rights of way therein. It is the Court’s responsibility to interpret the Constitution, not the Legislature’s. When the Legislature redefines the meaning of public utility in statute, it takes away a municipality’s constitutional consent authority. Previous abuses of public rights of way led to the inclusion of local government control of rights of way in Michigan’s Constitution.


The Court denied motion to file the Supplemental Brief.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2016-05
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