Michigan Supreme Court Knocks Down Governor’s Emergency Powers

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A 1945 law used by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to make decisions in the interest of nearly ten million Michiganders during a pandemic has been ruled unconstitutional by a Republican majority state Supreme Court.

In part, the ruling essentially determines that the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 is unconstitutional because it “constitutes an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive.”

The state is governed by the Democratic executive and a Republican legislature, who complained for months about being shut out of emergency orders implemented regarding education, the economy, and health care.

The court’s decision on Friday appears to void dozens of orders while cases continue to surge in areas of the state.

Whitmer denounced the decision, but vowed to keep constituents safe.

For nearly seven months, Whitmer has imposed — and sometimes eased — restrictions on Michigan’s economy, K-12 school system, health care and even visits to state parks, all in an attempt to reduce the risk of the highly contagious virus, which has infected 126,000 residents and killed more than 6,700.

Her actions, however, also prompted several efforts to get people to sign petitions in order to repeal the laws cited by the governor. One initiative, Unlock Michigan, garnered more than 500,000 signatures but is under investigation by the attorney general after video evidence showed potentially illegal means of collecting signatures. 

Unlock Michigan provided more than 500,000 unverified signatures on Friday, the same day that the POTUS was transported to Walter Reed hospital for treatment of COVID-19.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield said the legislature was ready to work with the governor to “improve the state’s response” to the pandemic.

This is also the voice of Lee Chatfield.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey noted the ruling does not change the need for personal responsibility. 

“This ruling does not alter our collective responsibility to protect ourselves and others by wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands. The virus still presents a threat to our health and we must be vigilant in our actions,” Shirkey said. 

“Now is the time for bipartisan action to transition from government operating in fear of the virus to government managing life in the presence of the virus.”

Constitutional law experts say Whitmer can still act with the Department of Health and Human Services, and at the same time she should probably use the emergency management act and work with the legislature to protect the health and safety of Michigan residents.

Sources at Detroit Free Press and local here.