Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 Executive Orders
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday that a series of executive orders put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to combat COVID-19 were unconstitutional and are now invalid under Michigan law.
The Democratic governor’s directives were an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution,” wrote Justice Stephen J. Markman.
Over the course of the pandemic, Whitmer sparked a great deal of debate over how much power a state’s executive branch should have in addressing a public health crisis. The governor’s April stay-at-home order prohibited “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household.” It banned the in-store sale of paint, outdoor goods, and other allegedly nonessential items at big-box retail stores, so those establishments were forced to block off certain aisles to customers. In most cases, it disallowed travel between Michigan residences, including to vacation homes in the northern area of the state. It shuttered lawn care services, despite research suggesting that the virus is much harder to transmit outdoors. It made it illegal to use motorboats, though residents could use boats without motors.
Lottery sales, however, were deemed essential, likely because the proceeds help fund the state’s public schools.
Whitmer rolled back t
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