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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Michigan Supreme Court ruling could restrict governor's virus orders

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court has issued an opinion on months of orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that were aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The court says Whitmer illegally drew authority from a 1945 law that doesn't apply. The court determined that the law was an "unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution."

The decision is an extraordinary development in a monthslong tug-of-war between Whitmer, a Democrat, and the Republicans who control the Legislature. They've complained that they've been shut out of major orders that have restricted education, the economy and health care.

Gov. Whitmer disagreed with the ruling. 

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution," Whitmer said in a written statement. 

The governor says the ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days.  She says until then, her emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law.