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Federal judge dismisses Warren mayor's lawsuit seeking special mayoral election

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts (file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts (file photo)

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has lost a court fight to try to stay in office beyond his current term. In a statement, the mayor's legal team says Fouts will appeal the decision.

A 2020 city charter amendment, approved by voters, placed a three-term limit on Warren’s mayor’s office.

Mayor Fouts, who’s serving his fourth term, filed a lawsuit asking for last month’s mayoral primary to be decertified, since he was barred from being on the ballot.   

Fouts claims his civil rights were violated by applying the term limits to prevent him from running for another term as mayor.

But Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed Fouts’ lawsuit. As part of his opinion, U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh noted that neither Michigan nor federal law recognizes an individual's property interest in being a candidate or in holding public office.

In a written statement, Fouts and his attorneys publicly disagreed with the decision.

"An appeal of the federal Court’s decision shall be immediately presented to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, requesting review on an expedited basis. The purpose of this will be so that the Sixth Circuit may hopefully render its decision in time for Mayor Fouts’ to be relisted as a candidate for the Office of the Mayor of the City of Warren for the upcoming term."

Meanwhile, as the legal wrangling continues, Warren voters prepare to elect their city’s first new mayor, barring a successful legal challenge, in 16 years. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.