Freedom is worth fighting for, and being thankful for

The Mackinac Center fights to prevent government encroachment

This weekend is a time to be thankful. Thanksgiving is a time for family, togetherness, remembrance, and hope.  And Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reflect on why the Mackinac Center is crucial to ensuring our liberties and freedom.

Michigan residents fought to stay afloat as they coped with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown decrees and their own fear of how COVID-19 would affect them.

One of Whitmer’s pandemic executive orders banned medical procedures officially deemed elective surgeries. But some of the procedures were not elective after all. One patient, whose doctor was not allowed to perform gallbladder surgery, contracted gangrene. Most people who have had gallbladder attacks can attest to the pain they bring. Imagine adding gangrene to the pain because your governor says your surgery is not necessary.

The Mackinac Legal Foundation sued the governor on behalf of three medical professionals. The Michigan Supreme Court sided with the Mackinac Center in an Oct. 2, 2020, ruling. The court said that when the governor extended her executive orders beyond 30 days, she effectively cut the Legislature out of the decision-making process, an unconstitutional act.

The Mackinac Center then worked with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on principles for reopening life, which would help revive a flailing economy.

The Mackinac Center’s legal team once again stepped in when the award-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff sued the governor, seeking data on deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic. Whitmer’s policies endangered nursing home patients by requiring their facilities to house people who were recovering from COVID-19.

As loved ones already struggled with the heart-wrenching decision to put a family member in a nursing home, they now had the added fear of them dying due to no in-person visits policies. Mackinac Center and LeDuff won, but Whitmer’s health department still only provided limited information.

Steve Delie, director of labor policy at Mackinac Center, continued to fight for the truth as he testified on the matter in a legislative hearing. The auditor general announced shortly after the hearing it would audit the numbers. It found the department undercounted nursing home deaths which were 42% higher than what the Whitmer administration claimed.

Michael Van Beek, director of research at Mackinac Center, uncovered 30 emergency powers still on the books in Michigan. Lawmakers drafted bills as a result of his findings to rescind or amend the powers. The legislature passed several of the bills, but Whitmer vetoed them. The fight continues.

The Mackinac Center submits hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests annually to reveal what is going on behind government’s closed doors with the purpose of holding government accountable when it oversteps.

It produces studies to provide the truth often misled in the public town square and uses the information obtained, studied, and disseminated to work with legislators to advance the people’s liberties and ensure proper role of government. When government oversteps, Mackinac Center is there to fight back the power grab.

I did not work for Michigan Capitol Confidential during the first half of the pandemic. I was a fellow resident of Michigan, whose rights were trampled. I am offering thanks to those who work to ensure our freedoms are preserved.

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.