Michigan Supreme Court Overturns Whitmer’s Emergency Powers

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The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders, following months of back and forth between the Democratic governor and the Republican legislature.

The court said that Whitmer cited authority for her multitude of executive orders from a 1945 law that is unconstitutional, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. Republicans said Whitmer should used have a 1976 law, which requires legislature approval to continue after any emergency declaration lasting 28 days, ClickOnDetroit said.

“[The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945] is an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution,” Justice Stephen Markman wrote. “Accordingly, the executive orders issued by the governor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic now lack any basis under Michigan law.”

The ruling resulting from the 4-3 decision does not take effect for 21 days, but renders Whitmer’s executive orders powerless, as they “now lack any basis under Michigan law,” the court said.

Whitmer pushed back on the court’s decision in a statement released Friday.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution. Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April,” Whitmer said. “It is important to note that this ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, and until then, my emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law. Furthermore, after 21 days, many of the responsive measures I have put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling.”

The Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling was passed down the same day that Whitmer moved the Upper Peninsula back to Phase 4 after a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Michigan currently has more than 126,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and a death toll of 6,788, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. More than 95,000 cases are considered recovered.

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Photo “Michigan Supreme Court Justices” by michigan.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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