Challenging Michigan Executive Orders Related to COVID

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The case of Midwest Institute of Health, PLLC v. Whitmer concerns the state-law claims (brought to the Michigan Supreme Court through the certified-question process from federal court) made in challenge to all of Michigan Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders issued after April 30, 2020. On that date, the Michigan Legislature refused to extend Governor Whitmer’s emergency declaration. She asserted this denial was irrelevant under Michigan’s 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act, which unlike Michigan’s 1976 Emergency Management Act, does not have an explicit mechanism permitting the Legislature to terminate an emergency declaration. Governor Whitmer has issued around 175 COVID Executive Orders and almost all of the 41 still-active ones were issued after April 30, 2020. Plaintiffs focused their argument on the statutory construction concept of constitutional avoidance – specifically that if read in the manner that the Governor claimed, the 1945 EPGA would violate the 1963 Michigan Constitution’s separation of powers provision as it would be an unlawful delegation.


Patrick J. Wright, Vice President for Legal Affairs, Mackinac Center for Public Policy



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