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Gov. Whitmer’s Emergency Authority Deemed Unconstitutional by Michigan’s Supreme Court

By Katie Glasgow

On Friday, Oct. 2, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer does not have the authority to continue states of emergency relating to the global pandemic without agreement of the Legislature. The ruling will not take effect until 21 days from the date of Oct. 2.

Whitmer defended her authority with two state laws-- the Emergency Management Act of 1976 and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. These laws state that Governor Whitmer used allow her to declare a State of Emergency and charges the governor with “coping with dangers to this state or the people of this state presented by a disaster or emergency,” Although, the Supreme Court ultimately decided against her authority in a 4-3 majority. On the same day as the ruling, a group named Unlock Michigan submitted a petition of 539,000 signatures with the intent to call for the repeal of the 1945 law that Gov. Whitmer had cited.

Gov. Whitmer was upset with the ruling, calling it “deeply deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution.” Whitmer first declared a state of emergency in March, which was then extended via executive order in April. However, the state of emergency was only passed until April 30. Whitmer had made many more orders after April 30th in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the Supreme Court’s decision, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel can no longer enforce Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus orders. Gov. Whitmer intends to continue with the coronavirus precautions, initially made through executive orders, through other sources of authority.





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