Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency orders related to the coronavirus pandemic have long been decried by Republicans as too severe and an overreach of her authority.
In a ruling this week, the state’s Supreme Court agreed, ruling that her mandates constitute an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution,” as reported by Breitbart.
The court found that Whitmer had been relying on a 1945 law under the unfounded belief that it granted lawmaking power to the executive branch.
Republican legislators have argued for months that the governor should be working with them instead of citing unilateral authority under the earlier law. The Emergency Powers Act of 1976 states that the governor needs legislative approval to extend emergency declarations beyond 28 days, and the state legislature has not granted that approval.
If the court’s ruling stands, it would essentially declare all emergency declarations after April 30 unlawful.
While the outcome was a clear win for GOP critics of the harsh restrictions, Whitmer was unsurprisingly displeased.
She issued a statement expressing “vehement” opposition to the ruling and claiming that hers would be the “only” state without a disaster declaration if it is allowed to stand.
“Michigan will become the sole outlier”
As the governor noted, the ruling does not take effect for 21 days, giving the executive and legislative branches time to work out a solution together.
“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,” Whitmer said. “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.”
Speaking for legislative Republicans, Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield responded to the ruling by declaring that “people of this state have been denied a voice and a seat at the table in decisions that have impacted every facet of their lives and their futures over the past eight months.”
Chatfield went on to say that voters “deserve to have their representatives bring their voice and their concerns into this decision-making process.”
It seems hard to argue with that argument.