Michigan Supreme Court shoots down law allowing Whitmer to keep state on lockdown

One progressive governor will likely be devastated to learn that her power trip is finally coming to an end.

Fox News reports that the Michigan Supreme Court struck down on Friday a law the state’s Democrat governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has used to keep her coronavirus-related lockdowns going “without legislative approval.”

The 4–3 ruling deemed the law, which dates back to 1945, as unconstitutional in the state of Michigan, Breitbart notes. It’s a move that has been heralded by Unlock Michigan, a group that collected signatures hoping to overturn the controversial measure.

“Michigan is now unlocked,” Fred Wszolek, a spokesman for the group, told Breitbart.

It’s about time

According to Breitbart, the law at issue is the World War II-era Emergency Powers of Governor Act (EPGA), which allowed Michigan’s governor to repeatedly extend an ongoing state of emergency, giving her the chance to usurp power from the state’s legislature. The latest of Whitmer’s extensions would have kept Michigan under lockdown until at least Oct. 27, Breitbart notes.

Now, however, the Michigan Supreme Court has foiled Whitmer’s plans.

“We conclude that the Governor lacked the authority to declare a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘state of disaster’ […] after April 30, 2020, on the basis of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the court’s majority opinion on the matter reads, according to The Hill. “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.”

The opinion, authored by Michigan Justice Stephen Markman, adds: “As a consequence, the EPGA cannot continue to provide a basis for the Governor to exercise emergency powers.”

Whitmer doubles down

Whitmer, for her part, has been quick to decry the high court’s decision.

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 wrote in a statement Friday, as The Hill reported. “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.”

According to The Hill, “Michigan currently has had nearly 140,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and over 7,100 people have died in the state.” The governor apparently plans to use the statistic to hold her ground as long as possible, Supreme Court rulings be damned.

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,” Whitmer declared in her Friday statement. “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.”

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