Michigan Supreme Court rejects to expedite case challenging Whitmer's emergency powers

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 15:07:54-04

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected to expedite hearing a Republican-led lawsuit challenging Gov. Whitmer's emergency powers.

In a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court said the case would not go directly to them and instead would have to be heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

On May 21, Michigan Court of Claims judge Cynthia Stevens ruled that the Republicans challenge to the governor's authority to declare a state of emergency under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 were "meritless."

Under the EPGA, "The Governor may promulgate reasonable orders, rules, and regulations as he or she considers necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation within the affected area under control."

According to Stephens, the EMA allows for the governor to circumvent the legislative process only under extraordinary circumstances and for a finite period of time.

Stephens did rule that under the EMA, at the end of 28 days of a state of emergency, there are only two outcomes. One is the state of emergency is terminated – the other is continuing with legislative approval.

"There is no third option for the Governor to continue the state of emergency and/or disaster on her own, absent legislative approval," the ruling reads. "Nor does the statute permit the Governor to simply extend the same state of disaster and/or emergency that was otherwise due to expire."

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack joined the concurring opinion of Justice Elizabeth Clement with Justice Megan Cavanagh, and Justice Richard Bernstein also concurred.

"I agree with my fellow Justices that this case presents extremely significant legal issues that affect the lives of everyone living in Michigan today. And that is exactly why I join the majority of this Court in denying the parties’ bypass applications—because I believe that a case this important deserves full and thorough appellate consideration," Bersntein wrote.

Justices Stephen Markman, Brian Zahra and David Viviano all dissented.

"I would grant the applications because they pertain to an issue of the greatest practical importance to the more than 10 million people of this state: the validity of executive orders declaring a state of emergency and thereby enabling a single public official to restrict and regulate travel, assembly, business operations, educational opportunities, freedoms and civil liberties, and other ordinary aspects of the daily lives of these people, including matters of crime and punishment and public safety," Markman wrote.

Earlier this week, Whitmer rescinded her stay-at-home order, but several executive orders are still in place.

The Supreme Court are elected on a nonpartisan part of the ballot, but they are nominated at state conventions. Currently, Republicans hold a 4-3 majority on the court.