The Michigan legislature Thursday, July 22 approved an initiative to block Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) from exercising what she has continued to claim are her “emergency powers” to lock down businesses, schools, and churches, impose mask mandates and “gathering bans,” impose fines on those who don’t comply, and commandeer privately owned medical supplies.
The move last week is the culmination of two major actions begun last year: the first of those being an October 2 Michigan Supreme Court ruling that the 1945 state “Emergency Powers of the Governor Act” is unconstitutional. That act, along with a subsequent adjustment of it in 1976, and the mid-2000’s adoption of the “Model State Health Emergency Powers Act” that many legislatures passed around the same time, formed the fraudulent “justification” Whitmer repeatedly employed for her lockdowns. Whitmer even went so far as to claim the power to continue issuing her diktats even after the state Supreme Court said she couldn’t.
On the same day as the ruling, Michiganders filed a citizen’s initiative to stop Whitmer from claiming such power, the Michigan Secretary of State in April determined that there were 460,000 valid signatures, and the legislature approved it on Thursday.
And since this is a citizen initiative, rather than a bill, Whitmer cannot veto it like she did a bill to stop her that was passed last winter.
Speaking to Fox News on Friday, Michigan Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R) noted:
"It was the voice of the people saying enough is enough."
That might be an understatement.
Whitmer’s invidious authoritarianism and hypocrisy not only saw her attempt to – among many tyrannical moves -- close the barbershop run by a beloved elderly man, but also impose quarantine and travel restrictions, even as she, her husband, and one of her top aides were caught breaching their own travel and “gathering” edicts. It saw her utterly violate most of the Bill of Rights and the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution to bring religious residents, business owners, employees, and consumers, to their economic knees under the power of her statist boot.
But the nightmare is not really over.
As ABC12 Michigan reports, though the Executive Branch powers have been ruled unconstitutional, and though the initiative to block Whitmer was authorized and made official policy as of last week:
Despite the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act being repealed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services retains authority to make public health orders with the separate Public Health Code. That law was not affected by the Supreme Court ruling or repeal of the 1945 law.
Which brings us back to the mid-2000s and the move in Michigan – as well as many other states – to adopt into statute aspects of the 2001 “Model State Emergency Health Powers Act”, the brainchild of leftist Georgetown Law professor Lawrence Gostin working in conjunction with seven others and with Johns Hopkins University.
People might be familiar with such unconstitutional legislation in their own states, and if they suffer through the so-called “news” on CNN, they might be familiar with that network’s seeming adoration for lockdowns and for Professor Gostin, who recently appeared with rights-blind Michael Smerconish and former Obama Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to call for everyone to get mRNA jabs, for those who don’t want to be forced to take tests and wear masks, and for businesses to mandate them for employment or admission.
They either get the jab, or they have to get two tests per week, they have to mask-up. Um, but we should absolutely make sure that if you make a decision not to be vaccinated, that you just have no right to go un-masked and unvaccinated in a crowded workplace, and that’s the bottom line.
Which indicates that law professor Gostin doesn’t understand the meaning of rights.
You most certainly have a right to go unmasked or unjabbed in a crowded workplace. Likewise, the owner of a shop has the right to ask potential workers or visitors to be jabbed or wear masks, and we have rights to refuse and go elsewhere.
It is authoritarians like Gostin and those in government who do not have a right to tell U.S. how to engage in peaceful voluntary agreements.
Rights are inherent and universal. Each of us retains them regardless of what politicians say, and we retain the God-given power to exercise them and work with others who also retain their own rights.
Government mandates -- be they on consumers or business owners (really one-in-the-same because we all simply engage in economic exchange and free choice) -- are anti-rights and anti-constitutional. They cannot – in any way -- be excused by Gostin, or his “Model State Emergency Health Powers Act,” or by Whitmer, or by the remainder of the Michigan legal code that says the Department of Health can institute “health emergency edicts.”
And this brings to light the fact that there’s an important theme to many of the major stories I'm covering this week.
Liberty is doomed if people don’t learn the key lesson from this story, or from the massive, worldwide protests against lockdowns and “jab-passports,” or from something as seemingly innocuous and light as states like New Hampshire and Illinois “allowing” kids to open lemonade stands without getting food and drink licenses from the government.
The lesson is the fact that the dark heart of lockdowns is the same as that of telling kids they have to get permission from bureaucrats to sell lemonade on their lawns. It’s the corrupt idea that government can tell you that you must get permission from them to engage in voluntary association and exchange.
Every authoritarian evil connected to the COVID lockdown mindset – from political mask mandates, to lockdowns, to fines, to arrests, to the closure of churches, and government telling businesses they have to ask for “jab passports” starting in September in the UK – all of it is predicated on the false idea that government can “license” and “regulate” private market interaction.
That’s your prerogative. You are supposed to be a free, self-acting, self-determining individual among others with equal rights.
Whitmer has been stopped from claiming she has power like this over others, but the state of Michigan will continue to operate under the pernicious idea promulgated by Gostin: the idea that you are not free to control your own property and agreements with others of equal freedom.
It is utterly evil, the mindset of feudal lords. To them, you are a serf, to be told how to live by agents of the state.
This is the disease we need to recognize and fight. We must remember the primacy of free association.