Congressman sues Whitmer for residence orders, denounces violations of constitutional rights
A federal lawsuit unveiled by a Michigan congressman on Monday, accuses Governor Gretchen Whitmer of violating the US constitution with her “blocking orders” issued in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
United States Representative Paul Mitchell III, R-Dryden, filed a lawsuit Monday May 4 in Grand Rapids Federal Court against Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon, who has it also issued emergency orders during the outbreak.
Shortly after Whitmer signed a state of emergency statement on March 10, following the first two confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, “the governor began issuing orders requiring Michiganders to stay home and closed most of criminal sanctions “, affirms the case. “The governor said the initial orders were based on the perceived emergency need to ‘flatten the curve’ so as to avoid overwhelming the state’s hospitals and health centers, so as not to eradicate the virus.”
The lawsuit then claims that “objective data and reports show that the curve was flattened during the first week of April”.
The federal complaint argues that general orders that impact residents and commerce across the state are not justified and do not provide clear criteria for when they will be lifted.
“With confirmed infections affecting only 0.42 percent of the state at the date of this complaint, no epidemic actually exists in all of Michigan,” says the lawsuit filed by law firm Butzel Long. “While a regional epidemic probably exists in some densely populated areas, one does not exist in all 83 Michigan counties, as evidenced by the consistently low number of infections and deaths in most Michigan counties.”
Citing data from Lapeer County, where Mitchell lives, the lawsuit said there have been “171 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths since the governor declared an emergency.”
“In other words, confirmed cases represent 0.195% of the population in Lapeer County,” the complaint said. “The death toll represents 0.028% of the Lapeer County population. This small number of cases and deaths did not qualify and do not qualify as an epidemic in Lapeer County. “
The lawsuit claims violations of due process rights and asks the federal court to find Whitmer’s orders unconstitutional, even if they are revoked before the lawsuit is resolved.
He says the issues at the heart of the case will remain unresolved, even if the orders are lifted.
“In effect, the governor described his emergency powers as a ‘dial’ that can be raised or lowered at will,” the lawsuit said. “Therefore, the issues presented are susceptible to repetition and are of such importance that they cannot circumvent judicial control.”
A Whitmer spokesperson declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
The lawsuit comes days after protesters from across the state met on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing Thursday in express indignation at the order to stay at Whitmer’s house.
Later the same day, Whitmer signed an executive order Extend the temporary ban on catering services and the closure of public accommodation venues such as bars, cafes, theaters, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, libraries, museums, fitness centers, casinos and salons until May 28.
Whitmer defended his legal right to continue Michigan’s state of emergency On Friday, asking for a decision by the legislator not to vote to extend it a political maneuver, and protests erupted in the Capitol over the “disturbing” issue.
Whitmer said the protests – during which attendees stood shoulder to shoulder both inside and outside the Capitol, ignoring social distancing guidelines – do not represent the majority of Michigan residents.
Both the State House and the Senate gave their leadership the green light to sue Whitmer during last week’s stay order extensions.
In a previous lawsuit, Steve Martinko, owner of an Oakland County landscaping company, and four other Michigan residents filed a lawsuit against the governor and other state officials claiming that the residence order violated their constitutional rights.
A judge on the Michigan Court of Complaints last week found that while Whitmer’s residence order does “temporary damage” to the constitutional rights of Michigan residents, the damage does not outweigh the public health risk posed by the coronavirus outbreak.
The residence order was issued for the first time on March 24, suspending activities “not necessary to support or protect life”. It has been extended until May 15, with fewer restrictions.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan, Whitmer has done so issued 69 executive orders.
From Monday 4th May Michigan has had 43,950 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,135 deaths, the third most in the nation.
COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS
Furthermore wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming someone may be a carrier of the virus.
Health officials say you should stay at least 6 feet away from others and work from home if possible.
Bring hand sanitizer with you and use disinfectant wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently touched surfaces in your home (doorknobs, faucets, countertops) and when you enter places like shops.