Among many state governors whose COVID19 lockdowns have wrought economic destruction and seen massive uprisings among the residents, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer might be one of the most despised. And now, the Michigan Supreme Court has cast more light on her mind-blowing disregard for statute and constitutional rules, not just because of its recent ruling, but because that ruling has inspired her to double-down and attempt to keep her lockdown powers going.
On Friday, October 2, the MI Supreme Court ruled that her fluctuating, arbitrary, and economically devastating lockdowns that trace back to early March were both contrary to statute as well as to the Michigan Constitution.
At issue were Whitmer’s Executive Order commands that only certain businesses could open, that people had to “social distance” and wear masks, and her claim that she could keep these orders going and going, despite MI statutes.
The court ruled that Whitmer lacked authority under each of the two laws that govern states of emergency in Michigan to extend the state of emergency past April 30, when her first state of emergency declaration expired.
And on that statutory level, the pertinent laws were the 1945 “Emergency Powers of The Governor Act” (EPGA) – upon which Whitmer attempted to stand – and the subsequent partial override of that act, the 1976 “Emergency Management Act” (EMA).
First, the court ruled, 4 to 3, that the 1945 EPGA broke the Michigan Constitution by allowing the state legislature to delegate practical statutory authority to the Executive Branch – the branch which, of course, is only supposed to execute constitutional statutes, not issue diktats as Whitmer has.
(B)ecause the rest of the Court interpreted the statute more broadly, Justice VIVIANO addressed the constitutional issue and joined Justice MARKMAN’s holding that the EPGA is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power.
Which ought to be a message Americans apply to the federal government, as well, but it’s unlikely many public school teachers or pop media “journalists” out there will bother spreading the information.
Then there’s the ’76 statute, which placed a time limit on the already unconstitutional “power” the 1945 EPGA “created.” As Beth Baumann writes for TownHall.com:
A separate law, the 1976 Emergency Management Act, also prevented Whitmer from extending her original shutdown orders without legislative approval. That means that the lockdown should have expired on Apr. 30th, unless the state legislature decided to extend it.
Of course, the lockdown did NOT expire. Like the insufferable Oprah Book list, it went on, and on, and on, seeing businesses shut down, gatherings on private property banned, seeing mask mandates even in private places (which she and many others mistakenly call “public” even though they are privately owned), seeing MI Attorney General Dana Nessel charge a 77-year-old barber with criminal penalties merely for welcoming people into his shop to engage in peaceful commerce for services, and, by June, seeing the state economy tank, and its unemployment numbers the second-worst in the country.
With the ruling, that barber -- a man named Karle Manke, who has become something of a justified folk hero in many parts of the state – is hoping to see the charges against him dropped. It’s difficult to fathom how a rabidly leftist governor peddling in class envy and supposedly standing for “the little guy” can keep up her authoritarian charade.
But Whitmer is not backing down on her claim to power.
In fact, as Baumann points out, Whitmer has asked for the MI Supreme Court to RE-HEAR the case, which, her team of tax-fed autocrats argue, buys her another 21 days to continue claiming her “authority” to order people around and shut their businesses any time she likes.
According to Detroit News, Whitmer has made the argument that her lockdown orders are good for another 21 days. That's the time period a governor has to obtain a rehearing from the State Supreme Court.
What’s curious about this whole situation -- including the MI Supreme Court ruling that has exposed Whitmer as the Lady Macbeth of her state constitution – is that the Michigan court did not come close to discussing the overt and blatant insult to the Constitution that any and all so-called “public health policing” statutes represent.
All lockdowns of businesses breach the Contract Clause of the US Constitution as well as the First Amendment’s protection of the right to assembly, the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unwarranted searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment prohibition against property takings without so-called “just compensation”, the Fifth Amendment promise of due process, the Sixth Amendment promise of a fair and speedy trial before a jury, the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (as I have noted in previous pieces on lockdowns, there can be no punishment if there has been no trial, and a lockdown is the obvious act of taking away a livelihood, which is, er… PUNISHMENT), and the Fourteenth Amendment reiteration of due process as well as equal protection under the law.
Whitmer repeatedly has shown that she doesn’t care about those most fundamental of US constitutional points.
And while the Michigan Supreme Court did not necessarily have to mention them, because Whitmer’s actions and the 1945 EPGA are so clearly antagonistic to the state constitution, it would have been nice to see the court engage that important level of jurisprudential inquiry.
Then again, we can do that ourselves. Thanks to this ruling, we can research and tell our friends and loved ones just how vast is the schism between collectivist state lockdown-pushers and the actual rules of the United States they swore to uphold.
This kind of learning is valuable, especially at a time when politicians like Whitmer continue to act like predators, hungry for power.