The Michigan State Supreme Court on Friday delivered a blow to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and her Wuhan coronavirus lockdown orders.
Whitmer was relying on the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act to lock the state down without legislative approval. The high court, however, voted 4-3 saying Whitmer's moves were unconstitutional.
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.
"Our decision leaves open many avenues for the governor and Legislature to work together to address this challenge, and we hope that this will take place," Justice Stephen Markman wrote in the majority opinion.
WHOA.— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) October 2, 2020
Michigan Supreme Court rules against @GovWhitmer's use of 1945 emergency powers law in #COVID19 pandemic, says 145 law "is in violation of the Constitution of our state because it purports to delegate to the executive branch the legislative powers of state government..." pic.twitter.com/sIP7Pd6X6r
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.
Of course, Whitmer was not happy about the ruling, particularly because the justices who made the decision were appointed by Republicans.
"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 in a statement.
Whitmer also made it clear that although the Michigan Supreme Court delivered a blow to her orders, nothing would change because some of the orders that are in place were also implemented by other state authorities.
"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 the law," her statement said. "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 ruling would leave intact orders put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
"In other words, nearly everything the governor has done under the EPGA, she has also purported to do, via the DHHS Director," David Viviano said.