Supreme Court strikes down governor’s COVID powers

In a 4-3 decision, Michigan's top court rules that the governor doesn't have the power to issue executive orders meant to curb the coronavirus.

In a split decision, the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer lacks the authority to continue the state of emergency she’s maintained since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

That means orders limiting public gatherings and closing bars may not be legal.

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The governor issued a state of emergency under a 1945 law, but the majority on the court ruled the law unconstitutionally gives lawmaking powers to the executive branch.

Unfortunately, the exact impact of the ruling is still up in the air. Whitmer said the court’s ruling won’t take effect for 21 days. Some orders have been reissued by the Department of Health and Human Services, which has a narrower scope of authority.

The governor can still work with legislative leaders to enact emergency measures. However, legislative leaders in the state House and Senate have already said the mask mandate and workplace protection rules would be the first to go.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.