GRAND RAPIDS, Mi. - A Michigan congressman has filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with Department of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon, stating that her orders to combat COVID-19 are violating the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Michigan congressman, Lapeer County's Republican Paul Mitchell, would file the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
Whitmer would declare a state of emergency and would do so without any legislative approval, and Mitchell is arguing that it is, as well as her use of executive orders, are a violation of Article IV, Section 4 and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
MDHHS director Gordon was included in the lawsuit as a defendant due to issuing an emergency order requiring all Michiganders to comply with the governor's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order under the public health code, as well as giving out $1,000 fines to people for violating her orders.
Whitmer has defended herself by citing a state law enacted in 1946 that she says gives her the sole authority to decide when it's the end of an emergency. However, the Michigan Republican lawmakers have countered her by citing a state law themselves that was implemented in 1975 that limits the governor's emergency orders to only 28 days. After that, the governor has to get approval from legislators to extend the state of emergency.
On March 10, Whitmer would declare the first state of emergency after Michigan would obtain their first confirmed case of the coronavirus. At the time, the Republicans would agree with the governor and voted to extend the stay-at-home order to the end of April. Now with more information available in regards to science and data, the GOP isn't going for it this go-around.
After refusing to negotiate her executive order's terms and how they could help hurting businesses across Michigan, lawmakers would deny her request for a second extension.
However, Whitmer would reject the denial, extended the state of emergency herself and cited the 1946 law in the process. The state of emergency has been extended to May 28 by the governor, while the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order expires on May 15.
Due to Whitmer's use of emergency powers, the Legislature has passed through a resolution allowing lawmakers to sue the governor in state court. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R - Jackson County) on Monday stated that he expected that lawsuit to be filed in the court system during the second week of May.