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Michigan Congressman Hits Gov. Whitmer with Lawsuit, Alleging Constitutional Rights Violations

— May 5, 2020

Fed up with his state’s stay-home order and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s alleged abuse of power, U.S. Rep Paul Mitchell III (R) filed a suit against her earlier this week.

Governors across the country have been making waves with the way they have been responding to the coronavirus pandemic. However, few have gotten the attention that Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer (D), has. Over the span of 56 days, Whitmer has signed 68 executive orders to help combat the virus, but to some Michigan residents, some of those orders have been confusing and nonsensical, prompting some to lash out with lawsuits. For example, U.S. Rep Paul Mitchell III – R, is one of many fed up Michiganders. Earlier this week he filed a lawsuit against the governor and the Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. Gordon has also signed several executive orders since the start of the outbreak.

Current Michigan Gov. and former Ford School faculty Gretchen Whitmer delivering a speech in 2015. Image via Flickr/user:FordSchool. (CCA-BY-2.0).

According to Mitchell, ever since Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 10, she “began issuing orders that required Michiganders to remain at home and closed most businesses with limited exceptions, under pain of criminal penalties.” The suit further states, “The governor stated that the initial orders were premised on the perceived emergency need to ‘flatten the curve’ to avoid overwhelming the state’s hospitals and healthcare centers, not to eradicate the virus…objective data and reporting show that the curve was flattened during the first week of April.”

The suit further claims that the prolonged blanket orders are having devastating impacts on residents and commerce across the state with no end in sight. It’s important to note that outside of Detroit and it’s close surrounding areas, much of the state has reported relatively low numbers of cases and deaths. Filed by the Butzel Long law firm, the suit goes on to state:

“With confirmed infections affecting only 0.42% of the state as of the date of this complaint, no epidemic actually exists throughout all of Michigan. While a regional epidemic likely exists in a few densely populated areas, one does not exist in all 83 counties in Michigan, as demonstrated by persistently low numbers of infections and deaths in the majority of Michigan’s counties.”

Mitchell also cited data from Lapeer County, where he lives, claiming the “county has only seen 171 confirmed cases of the virus and 25 deaths” since the state of emergency was announced. The complaint said, “In other words, confirmed cases represent 0.195% of the population in Lapeer County. The death toll represents 0.028% of Lapeer County’s population. These small numbers of cases and deaths did not and do not qualify as an epidemic in Lapeer County.”

Additionally, the suit claims “violations of due process rights and asks the federal court to deem Whitmer’s orders unconstitutional, even if they are lifted before the lawsuit is resolved.” It further states:

“Indeed, the governor has described her emergency powers as a ‘dial’ that can be turned up or down at will. Thus, the issues presented are capable of repetition and are of such importance that they cannot evade judicial review.”

The came on the heels of a few protests that have taken place in Lansing to protest Whitmer’s stay-home order and other restrictive executive orders. The same day Mitchell’s suit was filed, Whitmer signed yet another order that will “extend the temporary ban on dine-in services and the closure of places of public accommodation like bars, coffeehouses, theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, libraries, museums, fitness centers, casinos and salons through May 28.

Mitchell’s suit might be just the beginning for the governor. Just last week when Whitmer decided to extend the state of emergency through May 28 without legislature approval, the House and Senate “gave their leadership the go-ahead to sue Whitmer.”


Congressman sues Whitmer over stay-home orders, claims constitutional rights violations

From closing restaurants to requiring masks, Gov. Whitmer has issued 69 executive orders in 56 days

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