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Feds Scratch Heads: Bicycle Repairs OK But Jeweler Visits A Crime Without Appointment?

US Department of Justice says, ‘hard to conceive of a rational basis’ for some Michigan lockdown orders

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a statement of interest supporting seven businesses that filed a lawsuit in federal district court against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her COVID-19 executive orders. Those businesses have been shut down since March 23.

The Department of Justice wrote, “the Orders permit an individual to go to a bicycle shop to repair a bike without an appointment; however, they criminalize going to a jewelry store without an appointment. ... It is permissible to buy a Carhartt jacket at a local hardware store. But it is a crime to buy the identical jacket inside a Carhartt store without making an appointment.”

“It is hard to conceive of a rational basis for imposing these restrictions on Sotheby’s [realty company] and Hillsdale Jewelers and declining to impose them on bicycle shops, auto supply stores, pet supply stores, hardware stores, garden stores, and motor vehicle dealerships, where customers will have comparable interactions with, and exposure to, employees and other customers," the DOJ wrote.

The governor released a statement in response to the DOJ's involvement: “We have absolute confidence in the legal authority I have exercised to protect the people of Michigan. It is crystal clear that this challenge is coming directly from the White House, which is ignoring the risk of a second wave of the virus and pushing too quickly to roll back public health guidelines. We know that will only prolong the pandemic and make the economic pain that much worse for Michiganders. No matter what happens, I will always put the health and safety of Michiganders first.”