Advertisement

Whitmer’s coronavirus orders will stay for now despite Supreme Court ruling

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a press conference on Michigan's coronavirus response.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a press conference on Michigan's coronavirus response.
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Don’t expect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders to go away immediately after Friday’s ruling against her from the Michigan Supreme Court.

In a 4-3 decision, justices ruled that she has lacked the legal basis to issue orders and maintain the coronavirus State of Emergency since April 30, when the Michigan Legislature declined to approve an extension of the emergency declaration.

Whitmer had been claiming authority from the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, but the Supreme Court ruled Friday that the law is unconstitutional. However, Whitmer’s orders will remain in place for 21 days until the ruling takes effect.

She plans to continue many orders beyond 21 days “under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling," she said in a statement issued after Friday’s ruling was announced.

Whitmer said her actions during the coronavirus pandemic all were designed to protect senior citizens, small businesses and first responders.

“Thanks to the hard work of millions of Michiganders who sacrificed and did the right thing, we have saved thousands of lives and laid the foundation for a strong economic recovery,” her statement says. “But COVID-19 still poses a clear and present danger to the people of Michigan, our economy, and our way of life.”

Whitmer said coronavirus remains a danger in Michigan, especially in the Upper Peninsula.

“This virus continues to take the lives of Americans every single day, and without a cure or approved vaccine, that will continue for the foreseeable future,” she said.

Whitmer called Friday’s ruling “deeply disappointing” and she “vehemently” disagrees with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution. When the ruling takes effect, she said Michigan will be the only state without some form of an emergency declaration in place.

“I know this is hard. We all want this crisis to be over, and we all want life to return to normal as soon as possible. But the only way we will get through this is by pulling together as Americans and working as one nation to defeat this virus,” Whitmer said.

Here is the full statement from Whitmer issued Friday evening:

"Since the beginning of this crisis, I have done everything in my power to protect our seniors, small businesses, and first responders from the worst public health emergency in over a century. Thanks to the hard work of millions of Michiganders who sacrificed and did the right thing, we have saved thousands of lives and laid the foundation for a strong economic recovery. But COVID-19 still poses a clear and present danger to the people of Michigan, our economy, and our way of life.

"This virus has now killed more Michiganders than World War I. It is a novel virus for which there is no cure, and which has infected the President of the United States, members of the United States Congress, and Legislators across our state. This virus continues to take the lives of Americans every single day, and without a cure or approved vaccine, that will continue for the foreseeable future.

"Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution. Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April.

"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. 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.

"I know this is hard. We all want this crisis to be over, and we all want life to return to normal as soon as possible. But the only way we will get through this is by pulling together as Americans and working as one nation to defeat this virus. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and maintaining six feet of physical distancing. Michiganders have grit, and there is no challenge we can’t meet.

“I want the people of Michigan to know that no matter what happens, I will never stop fighting to keep you and your families safe from this deadly virus.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.