In March Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer enacted a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She then extended it in April and has continued to pass more orders related to the pandemic and virus.
But in a 4-3 ruling the Michigan Supreme Court decided that the actions put in place by the Governor were not constitutional and that she lacks the authority to continue the restrictive measures. Justice Stephen J. Markman stated the majority opinion:
“We conclude that the Governor lacked the authority to declare a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘state of disaster’ under the EMA after April 30, 2020, on the basis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we conclude that the EPGA is in violation of the Constitution of our state because it purports to delegate to the executive branch the legislative powers of state government– including its plenary police powers– and to allow the exercise of such powers indefinitely.”
Governor Whitmer was very upset with the decision and claims that she enacted the restrictions with the best interest of seniors, small businesses, and first responders in mind. She claims that because of the sacrifice from Michigan residents they were able to save thousands of lives. She said,
“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.” She continued to say, “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.”
She then encouraged the need for mask wearing and maintaining social distancing. Michigan residents, Republicans, and even the President are celebrating this win for the state.
Sources: NPR, Conservative Brief; Photo-Associated Press