News Story

Gov. Whitmer Defiant After Supreme Court Shuts Down Her Unilateral Governance

Rules give 21 days to request rehearing; Whitmer claims she can govern alone until then

A day after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral governance by executive order is illegal and unconstitutional, Whitmer retorted that her COVID-19 pandemic orders are enforceable for another 21 days anyway. In response, a Republican member of the State Board of Education said that her stance provides grounds for impeachment.

“And no, the governor does not get to continue to violate the state constitution and the rights of 10 million residents for another 21 days,” said Tom McMillin, a former state representative and current member of the state’s education board. “Our Supreme Court said that her edicts were illegal after April. And that is from our state’s highest court — there is nowhere to appeal yesterday’s decision.”

McMillin continued: “Gov. Whitmer swore to uphold the state constitution. For her to now claim that she can continue to violate it for another 21 days seems to me to be pretty clear grounds for impeachment, especially given the very broad reach of her illegal and numerous executive orders.”

According to Michigan Court Rules, the governor has 21 days to request a rehearing from the Michigan Supreme Court.

Whitmer contends that her executive orders remain in effect and enforceable until those 21 days have passed.

“It is important to note that this ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, and until then, my emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Furthermore, after 21 days, many of the responsive measures I have put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling.”

Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said it was time to move forward now that the executive orders were deemed unconstitutional.

“The governor should focus less on trying to extend unconstitutional COVID executive orders and instead concentrate on enacting new legislation as the Michigan Supreme Court made clear was necessary,” Wright said.

The case on which the Michigan Supreme Court ruled was filed on behalf of three health care clinics that had been shut down and a patient who was unable to get medical care due to provisions of Whitmer’s executive orders. It was brought to the court by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, with litigation assistance from the Miller Johnson law firm.

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.