Michigan Supreme Court Immediately Cancels Gov. Whitmer's Executive Orders

Michigan Supreme Court Immediately Cancels Gov. Whitmer's Executive Orders
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the media in downtown Midland, Mich., on May 20, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber

Michigan's Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer a second time this month, immediately striking down all executive orders she issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 4-3 ruling found the orders Whitmer issued under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act have "no continuing legal effect."
The orders were deemed unconstitutional in a 4-3 ruling on Oct. 2.

Justices Stephen Markman, Brian Zahra, David Viviano, and Beth Clement, all Republican appointees, formed the majority for a second time.

Justice C.J. McCormack, a Democrat appointee, wrote in a dissent that she does not believe the emergency powers act "is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power under any reasonable reading of our (or the United States Supreme Court’s) nondelegation jurisprudence," accusing the majority of relying "heavily" on Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's nonbinding dissenting opinion in Gundy v. United States.

In a separate 6-1 ruling, justices rejected Whitmer's request to delay the annulment of her orders until Oct. 30.

Justice Richard Bernstein, a Democrat appointee, dissented.

"I would have preferred to exercise our discretion and clarify that when this court’s opinion originally entered on Oct. 2, it should not have had immediate precedential effect," he wrote. "I agree with defendants that a delay here could only allow the governor and the Legislature the time to better prepare for an appropriate transition."

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield cheered the ruling, writing on Twitter, "Another big win at the Supreme Court today!"

"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!" he added.

Tiffany Brown, Whitmer's spokeswoman, said in a statement to news outlets that the ruling "could potentially lead to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders losing their unemployment benefits in a matter of days," because the emergency orders included one dealing with unemployment.

She called on the state Legislature to codify Whitmer's order expanding unemployment protections.

 Fans sit in the stands wearing masks during a high school football game in Clinton, Mich., on Sept. 18, 2020. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Fans sit in the stands wearing masks during a high school football game in Clinton, Mich., on Sept. 18, 2020. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Following the Supreme Court's previous ruling, Whitmer's health director, Robert Gordon, issued an emergency order that features rules found in some of Whitmer's orders.

The public health order requires people wear masks and limits indoor gatherings in residences to 10 and in non-residences to 500. Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 at residences are allowed, and of up to 1,000 at non-residences are permitted.

Attempting to justify the order, Gordon wrote that state law imposes on his department the duty "to continually and diligently endeavor to 'prevent disease, prolong life, and promote public health,'" and gives the Department “general supervision of the interests of health and life of people of this state."

“Our goal is to maintain policies that have made a drastic difference in the fight against COVID-19,” Gordon said in a statement last week. “Cases are rising, and the science is clear. Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing reduces the spread of COVID-19. Public action is critical to saving Michiganders’ lives.”

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

As of now, no lawsuits have been filed against the health director's order.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit institute that challenged Whitmer's orders, is looking into the legality of Gordon's order, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Epoch Times.

"We are currently considering our options moving forward," she said in an email.

"If the governor was not permitted to continue the COVID-19 emergency on April 30, she should not be permitted to extend that same emergency without the Legislature on Oct. 5 simply by resorting to another statute," Michael Van Beek, director of research at the center, said in an earlier statement.

Whitmer's harsh mandates motivated a group of men to plot to kidnap her, authorities said earlier this month.

Thirteen men, including some members of a militia called Wolverine Watchmen, formed the plan, which centered around abducting the Democrat as she moved to or away from her vacation home.

The men regularly groused about the executive orders, according to court documents, referring to Whitmer as a tyrant.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]