High court: Whitmer’s orders have ‘no continuing legal effect’

November 1, 2020 in News by RBN Staff

source: www.detroitnews.com
by Beth LeBlanc

The Michigan Supreme Court told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer her orders have “no continuing legal effect” and denied her request to delay the effective date of its decision that ruled the law underpinning Whitmer’s executive orders was unconstitutional.

The high court’s ruling prompted the immediate cancellation of Monday’s previously scheduled virtual city council meetings in Flint and Lansing, and put pressure on Whitmer and the Legislature to replicate her orders about allowing online government meetings during the pandemic into state law.

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court said Whitmer’s orders issued under the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act “are of no continuing legal effect.” The majority consisted of Republican-nominated justices Stephen Markman, Brian Zahra, David Viviano and Beth Clement who formed the majority who earlier ruled the 1945 law was an unconstitutional grant of legislative authority to the governor’s office.

In a second 6-1 ruling, the high court denied Whitmer’s request to delay the end of her emergency orders to Oct. 30 to allow time for the Legislature to develop new replacement legislation. The majority — which included the Republican-nominated justices, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and Justice Megan Cavanagh — argued the court did not have the authority to grant Whitmer’s request.

Neither of Monday’s rulings appear to affect Whitmer’s authority through the state health department to issue other public health orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which represented the medical centers at the center of the federal lawsuit that led to the Oct. 2 ruling, said it was exploring the legality of the Michigan health department’s orders.

Monday’s rulings “affirmed that the court’s decision is now law,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs for the free-market-oriented Mackinac Center.