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Court Rules Governor Can Declare States Of Emergency Without Legislature's Approval

May 21, 2020

A Michigan Court of Claims judge has ruled Governor Gretchen Whitmer has the power to declare consecutive states of emergency without waiting for the Legislature's approval. 

The challenge was filed by the Legislature’s Republican leaders.  They argued the Democratic governor exceeded her authority and that she must get the Legislature’s approval after 28 days. 

Whitmer has declared COVID-19 emergencies multiple times and used the authority that goes with that.  Many of her orders have restricted gatherings and commerce to the chagrin of many Republicans.

The judge rejected most of the arguments made by the Legislature's Republican leaders that challenged Whitmer's authority to declare continued COVID-19-related emergencies.  Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens agreed with some of the Republicans’ arguments.  But, she said, in the end, state law lets the governor decide whether an emergency exists and for how long.

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