AG: “In light of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, the Attorney General will no longer enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders through criminal prosecution”
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On Saturday, I posted that the Michigan Supreme Court found that Gov. Gretchen “Shutdown Queen” Whitmer “did not have authority after April 30, 2020, to issue or renew any executive orders related to the COVID19 pandemic under the EMA [Emergency Management Act of 1976].”
In light of this decision, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that she would no longer enforce Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders.
Attorney General Dana Nessel will no longer enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday that one of the laws underpinning the orders was unconstitutional.
Nessel’s decision comes as Whitmer’s team has argued that her orders would stay in effect for 21 days after the ruling, a reference to a 21-day period in which parties can ask for reconsideration.
But opponents have said the 21-day rule doesn’t apply to rulings issued in response to a federal certified question as was the case in Friday’s Supreme Court decision.
Further, the language of the order, clearly calling all orders issued after April 30 to be unconstitutional seems to support immediate effect.
Nessel’s office on Sunday made clear the department “will no longer enforce the governor’s executive orders through criminal prosecution.”
Whitmer pushed back on the state’s Supreme Court decision and vowed to keep her executive orders in place for 21 days.
Statement from Governor Whitmer on Michigan Supreme Court Ruling on Emergency Powers: pic.twitter.com/kQKiAjD6gp
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 2, 2020
However, this seems like a losing battle, especially with the AG declining to pursue criminal charges against anyone who disobeys Whitmer’s orders.
The Detroit News continues:
The Supreme Court on Friday was unanimous in ruling Whitmer had no authority under a 1976 emergency law to extend the emergency past April 30 without approval from the Legislature.
But the court split 4-3 in ruling that a separate law Whitmer was using to issue executive orders — the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act — was unconstitutional because it was an unlawful delegation of legislative powers.
The lawyers for the plaintiff in the case have argued consistently since Friday that the order from the Supreme Court is effective immediately. Any argument about a 21-day stay is immaterial, said Patrick Wright, Vice President for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The center represented the three medical centers whose suit against Whitmer’s emergency powers resulted in Friday’s ruling.
“The governor should focus less on trying to extend unconstitutional COVID-19 executive orders and instead focus on enacting new legislation as the Michigan Supreme Court made clear was necessary,” Wright said.
“What prosecutor, what sheriff, what judge, what court would enforce these orders when the Michigan Supreme Court just said they’re unconstitutional?”
Here is Nessel’s full statement (via Fox17):
In light of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, the Attorney General will no longer enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders through criminal prosecution.
However, her decision is not binding on other law enforcement agencies or state departments with independent enforcement authority. It’s her fervent hope that people continue to abide by the measures that Governor Whitmer put in place – like wearing face masks, adhering to social distancing requirements and staying home when sick – since they’ve proven effective at saving lives.
If it weren’t for the Governor’s actions, countless more of our friends, family and neighbors would have been lost to COVID-19. We can respect both the court’s decision and the advice of medical experts by continuing with these important measures voluntarily.
There’s a novel idea, let the people themselves measure their own risk and personal response to the Wuflu pandemic. No one is dragging symptomatic people from their homes, ripping masks from their faces, or forcing them into large group gatherings. If people want to take whatever precautions they feel best, more power to them. The people.
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