News Bite

Federal Court Orders Michigan To Lift Lockdown On Gyms

Court sees no evidence of 'a rational relation between' closing gyms and public health

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney has ordered the state of Michigan to halt enforcement of a lockdown on indoor gyms as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, June 25.

The order read in part:

“…this Court must uphold the Governor’s Executive Orders as long as they are supported by some relation to the public health. Unfortunately, on the record before it, the Court has not been presented with any evidence that shows a rational relation between the continued closure of indoor gyms and the preservation of public health.

“While the standard is extremely deferential here—if the Court can conceive of any set of facts that would support the Orders, it must uphold them and deny the injunction—the Orders must still connect the challenged prohibition with some fact or facts. At oral argument, the Court pressed Defendants [attorneys representing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer] on what data, evidence, or rationale supported the continued closure of indoor gyms. Defendants cited to the preambles of the Executive Orders and vaguely stated that indoor gyms are a 'petri dish' of infection, but Defendants could not point to any facts in the record to support that statement. Defendants emphasized the low bar: all that needed to be presented was a reasonably conceivable set of facts that connected the continued closure to protecting the public health. But when asked, even counsel was unable to state a rational basis to support the position that indoor gyms must still be closed. Defendants merely reiterated that a threat of transmission exists at indoor gyms, and the threat of transmission must be minimized.”

The judge continued: "But when asked what data, science, or even rationale supports the continued closure of indoor gyms, Defendants presented nothing beyond 'trust us, they’re still dangerous.' From that vague statement and nothing more, the Court cannot create a set of facts that rationally connects the restriction with the legitimate government interest of protecting the public health."