Michigan COVID emergency order struck down by court

Michigan COVID emergency order struck down by court

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency order was struck down by the Michigan State Supreme Court on Monday, with the limitations being halted effective immediately.

In a 6-1 ruling the court decided to deny Whitmer’s request to allow her orders to stay in place until Oct. 30. The administration argued that extra time was needed to come up with contingency plans and to work with the legislature. The court does not have the authority to grant the request, the majority decision ruled.

“Executive orders issued under that act are of no continuing legal effect,” the court said, reported by the Detroit Free Press. “This order is effective upon entry.”

Republican Speaker of the House in Michigan, Lee Chatfield, celebrated the ruling in a post on Twitter.

“Another big win at the Supreme Court today!” Chatfield said. “The law is the law, and partisan politics can’t change that. The people will finally have their voices heard in this process. The House is in again tomorrow, and I hope the Governor is ready to cooperate. It’s time to work together!”

The court also issued a decision in a 4-3 ruling that Whitmer did not have the authority to extend the emergency declaration past April 30, after it timed out without the support of the legislature. 

The state Supreme Court ruled on October 2 that the Governor did not have the authority under either the 1976 Emergency Management Act (EMA) and the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act (EPGA) to extend an emergency order indefinitely without the support of the legislature.

“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,” the court ruled.

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