Michigan Supreme Court Rules against Whitmer on Emergency Powers

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not have authority to extend emergency declarations in her state used to mandate COVID-19 restrictions.

Justice Stephen Markman wrote in the majority opinion “We conclude that the Governor lacked the authority to declare a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘state of disaster’ under the EMA after April 30, 2020, on the basis of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.”

He added “As a consequence, the EPGA cannot continue to provide a basis for the Governor to exercise emergency powers.”

According to the Detroit Free Press “The court’s opinion throws into question dozens of orders issued by Whitmer related to the coronavirus pandemic, appearing to void them. At the same time, however, since the decision came as a response to questions submitted to the court by a federal judge — and not as part of a state case before it — it wasn’t immediately clear what would happen next or when it would take effect.”

The office of Whitmer issued a statement in response, saying “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,” the statement adds.

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