After court thumping, gov vows to keep state locked down
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Chris Woodward, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com)
Michigan’s supreme court has ruled against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her controversial shutdown orders but the Democrat is not giving up her executive powers yet.
After two rulings went against her late last week, Gov. Whitmer told reporters she will pursue “alternative sources” within state law to continue emergency decrees that have restricted the freedom of movement, worship, and commerce for 10 million Michiganders.
According to an Associated Press story, the state court looked at two emergency order laws, from 1945 and 1976. The court ruled 7-0 regarding the ’76 law that any orders from Whitmer, beyond April 30, were invalid if the state legislature was not involved. The second ruling, which was 4-3, said the governor had violated the state constitution because the ’45 law gave the governor unchecked authority.
According to The New York Times and its Michigan case count, the state has recorded 7,141 deaths out of 142,757 cases by Oct. 6, meaning fewer than two percent of 10 million Michiganders have caught the virus so far. That also means well under one percent of Michiganders have died from the virus after seven months of lockdowns, and the survival rate is hovering at 95 percent for people who get the virus.
Michigan’s lockdowns put tens of thousands out of work during the spring and summer, and the unemployment rate spiked to 22 percent in April.
Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Research, tells OneNewsNow that Michigan has witnessed four constitutional conventions during its statehood and the separation of powers has been part of each one.
"The United States constitution was created at a time of conflict. It isn't something that is meant to be turned off every time the situation gets difficult," says Wright. "It is a process that is meant to serve us, both in times of calm and in times of emergency."
Regarding the 4-3 ruling, Wright says the state court told the governor that “a statute Whitmer was using to say, I can do what I want, when I want, for how long I want, was unconstitutional.”
Back in April, Whitmer made national headlines over executive orders that roped off paint supplies and garden seeds, and allowed Michiganders to paddle around in canoes but banned powerboats.
Because people were “out and about,” Whitmer lectured, “the more likely they are to spread COVID-19 and the more likely we’re going to have to spread this posture for a longer period of time.”
Whitmer, meanwhile, came under fire in May after her husband contacted a boat company near their summer home and asked for his boat to be put in the water for the coming Memorial Day weekend. The governor had urged Michiganders to think “long and hard” about traveling due to the virus.
According to Wright, Whitmer has claimed she is saving lives with her actions but Mackinac Center sued on behalf of medical providers who were not allowed to help patients over several months.
"Some of them were unable to provide what are called 'elective' surgeries," says Wright. "Essentially, it's not as if the health care needs of Michigan's 10 million citizens all of a sudden stopped."
During the statewide lockdown, people were still fighting diseases, cancer, and mental health issues, and the governor was preventing those patients from seeing their doctors in the name of saving lives.
"All of these things were ongoing,” Wright says, “but because the governor was afraid of the system being overwhelmed with COVID, she prevented people from going to see their doctors for a long time. And obviously that has impacts on people's lives and probably cost lives as well.”
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