News Story

Whitmer Initially Defiant On Losing Emergency Powers, Now Says Will Work With Legislature

Senate Majority leader reported radio silence from administration as of 1 p.m. Sunday

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lashed out at the Michigan Supreme Court after it ruled her COVID-19 executive orders were unlawful and unconstitutional.

Whitmer made her comments Sunday morning on CNN.

“The sad irony is that on the day that the president was admitted to the hospital with the very virus he called a hoax, the Supreme Court in Michigan undermined my emergency rule, my emergency orders that I have had to enact that puts us in the same state as all other states in this nation, to save lives, we’ve save thousands of lives, and the Supreme Court on a slim majority, Republican vote undermined that effort,” Whitmer said.

Then she urged residents to vote for more liberal Supreme Court justices.

“Because we have to have justices who do the right thing and follow the rule of law,” Whitmer said on CNN.

Whitmer appeared intent on retaining sole authority over the state's response to the coronavirus.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a text message on Sunday that the state legislature has not been contacted by Whitmer yet. Shirkey said he’d be willing to work with Whitmer on what to do next regarding how the state deals with the coronavirus.

The Attorney General's office released a statement Sunday that suggested that Whitmer's executive orders deemed unlawful and unconstitutional could be enforced by existing state agencies and departments.

"In light of the Supreme Court's decision on Friday, the Attorney General will no longer enforce the Governor's Executive Orders through criminal prosecution," the AG press release stated. "However, her [AG Dana Nessel] decision is not binding on other law enforcement agencies or state departments with independent enforcement authority."

Whitmer's office put out a statement Sunday that she was willing to work with the state legislature.

"The governor is ready to work across the aisle with Republicans in the legislature where we can find common ground, but she won’t let partisan politics get in the way of doing what’s necessary to keep people safe and save lives," the press release stated. "The Supreme Court’s ruling raises several legal questions that we are still reviewing. While we are moving swiftly, this transition will take time. As the governor said last week, many of the responsive measures she has put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in the court’s ruling. We will have more to say on this in the coming days. Make no mistake, Governor Whitmer will continue using every tool at her disposal to keep Michigan families, frontline workers, and small businesses safe from this deadly virus.”

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.