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Judge: Poor Have No Fundamental Right to Water

detroit waterEarlier this year the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) began shutting off the water to thousands of residents who wouldn’t pay their bills in an effort to get more people to pay their bills or get on a payment plan.  This caused a firestorm of protest from liberals, especially the freeloaders in Detroit who refused to pay their bills.  As of March there were around 165,000 delinquent accounts with a combined $175 million in unpaid water bills.  Activist groups filed a report with the United Nations(!), requesting they intervene on behalf of the bankrupt city’s freeloaders.  The report was filed with the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation.  Who knew the U.N. even had such a person?  The activists claimed the DWSD action was meant to “sweeten the pot for a private investor” to take over the city’s water and sewer system as part of Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Earlier today, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes responded to a request from ten Detroit residents and refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers.  The attorney for the residents had argued that there is a fundamental right to water service but Judge Rhodes said, “There is no such right or law.”  He further said that he did not have the power to issue a moratorium on the shut-offs, but that the plaintiff’s attorney had failed to convince him it was necessary even if he had the authority.  With the city of Detroit dealing with bankruptcy, Judge Rhodes said, “The last thing the city needs is this hit to its revenues.”  The plaintiff’s attorney also tried to convince the Judge that citizens have a right to city services such as water based on an ability to pay, but Judge Rhodes also rejected that.

Naturally, this ruling from Judge Rhodes is causing the lefties to have an apoplectic fit.

ABC News – Alice Jennings, an attorney representing people who have lost water, said she was considering an appeal of Rhodes’ decision to U.S. District Court.  She had asked for a six-month suspension of water shutoffs and restoration to anyone dry since April.

“This relief solves no long-term problems for customers,” Rhodes said.  “It must be a means to an end.  But what is that end?”

Outside court, the reaction was sharp.  The Rev. Charles Williams II accused the judge of being “morally inept.”  Another activist, Marian Kramer, said Rhodes doesn’t understand the needs of “people who are starving.”

“No one has said these folks should have free water.  We said we should have an affordable price,” Williams said.

Affordable?  In this Democrat-controlled, liberal utopia?

Think Progress – One of the activist groups behind the report, the Detroit People’s Water Board, notes that city residents have seen water rates more than double over the past decade at the same time that the city’s poverty rate rose to nearly 40 percent, putting the cost of basic running water beyond reach for tens of thousands of households. Earlier this week, city lawmakers voted to raise water rates by a further 8.7 percent.

The lefties on Twitter were quick to condemn the city’s actions and the judge’s ruling.


Some, though, see this for what it is – more liberals wanting government to provide services for free.


  And one wise tweeter with some sage advice.    

Yes, my liberal friends,  keep voting Democratic.  They do such a fantastic job you can’t even afford water!


2 comments to Judge: Poor Have No Fundamental Right to Water

  • A couple of things I noticed right off the bat. It seems these freeloaders are very quick to appeal to the United Nations. Do they think the crowd of thugs that run the UN has some kind of moral superiority, that they can or should interfere with what is essentially a local issue?

    And as far as cutting off the water, that’s how this works. If I don’t pay my water bill, I am quite certain the town of Roland would shut off the valve and leave me high and dry. I am also quite certain the city you live in would do the same to you, were you to not pay your water bill. Again, that’s how these things work. We are provided with services, for which we are supposed to pay money.

    I guess the people in Detroit must believe they live in a different America than the rest of us.

    • If the UN would want to have any involvement at all it would probably be welcomed by the Obama administration and the Democrats who have controlled Detroit for decades. Libs have always seemed to grant more worth to the UN than they certainly deserve.

      Absolutely my city would cut off my water if I didn’t pay my bill. And if I was some freeloading leftist I’d go screaming to the media and the UN about how my rights were being violated. But I’m certainly not a freeloader or a leftist. How many other things are there that leftists think is a “fundamental right” and therefore they shouldn’t have to pay for it? Probably just about everything. And that would mean you and me and everyone else with a job would be the ones paying for it. They’d be fine with that.

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