A federal judge agreed with Detroit on Wednesday and stopped any lawsuits challenging the city's bankruptcy, declaring his courtroom the exclusive venue for legal action in the largest filing by a local government in U.S. history, according to AP.
The city's $18 billion in long-term debt is the latest chapter for what was once a national industrial powerhouse that helped moved thousands of Americans, including an emerging black population, into the middle class.
The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes was a major victory for Detroit, especially after a judge last week said that Gov. Rick Snyder ignored the Michigan Constitution and acted illegally in approving the bankruptcy filing. That ruling and others had threatened to derail the case.
Retirees had sued, claiming the bankruptcy threatened their pensions that are protected by the constitution.
The courtroom was jammed with lawyers representing some of the thousands of creditors as well as rank-and-file city employees and retirees eager to know the outcome. Some wore T-shirts that said, "Detroit vs. Everybody."
The governor has called Detroit's bankruptcy the only "feasible path" for a city whose population has plummeted to 700,000 from 1.8 million decades ago.