The Wheels of Michigan are About To Come Off
This past few days has been historical, to say the least. The Supreme Court had weighed in on the Governor’s actions of the past 6 months or so and we have been dealing with the aftermath. Let’s do the background a bit before we talk about this weekend and where we are headed.
Whether you agree on the masks or not, anyone with a half a brain can look around the world and see that action was needed to deal with the pandemic. I’m of the mind that masks are useful, but the shutdowns have gone a bit too far. I’d have preferred to see masks encouraged, not forced unless absolutely necessary. You guys might not, and that’s OK. I don’t think anyone is going to change anyone’s mind on that now.
Generally speaking, though, most of us agree something had to be done. In a republic, the chief executive has some limited tools to act quickly before going to the legislature for help. In a Federal Republic, the states do what they need to do and the Federal Government works on getting the borders secured and States are supported. Our Federal Government shut down travel to infected nations, which is reasonable. They nationalized certain industries to manufacture respirators and other things. The various Governor’s were able to customize their state’s responses. Each state had their own emergency laws and, for the most part, they worked well. Except Michigan.
Our dyslexic legislature wrote an Emergency Management law in 1945. In 1976, they decided to update it, but not cancel out the old one. So now, 44 years later, we have two competing laws that say different things. So, during a pandemic where nations around the world were all sounding the alarms, we were entering unchartered territory for our generation….and our laws were confusing. However, that was the least of our worries. No…..no, that quickly become a moot point, actually.
Whatever the legislature did wrong in the past was negated because our Governor decided she didn’t need to consult the legislature and just plowed on ahead. Imagine a President going to war without congressional approval. For a month or two it would go great….but after that it would fall apart because of the checks and balances where the legislature has some control over what the President can do. The President is not a dictator, he has to be responsive to the people and their elected representatives in the Legislature.
Our Governor, after throwing the President under the bus rather publicly so as to give her chances of being nominated as VP, gave a big middle finger to the legislature and issued Executive Order after Executive Order for months on end. In doing so, mind you, she encountered enough bad press that her chances of getting a Vice President nod quickly evaporated. As an aside, later BLM would rear it’s ugly head and request (by that I mean demand) that a VP be a “woman of colour.”
The Governor plodded ahead. Most of her EO’s were run of the mill and par for the course with all of the other Governors. However, she had several attempts at a recall coming against her. She also, horribly, issued an order sending COVID patients to Nursing Homes. The only other state to do this was New York….and the Governor rescinded that order after disaster struck, inevitably. However, our Governor issued her order the day after (or close to it) New York rescinded theirs. She should have known what was going to happen. A lot of senior citizens died because of this.
After several legal battles where Sheriffs were refusing to enforce restrictions and barbers where arrested and fined and then later freed by a Judge, things just kept getting worse. Nothing was going the Governor’s way. Although she had her trusty ally, the Attorney General, who was backing her up the whole way.
Fast forward past all the riots, police departments defunded, rising crime, closed schools, an economy largely shutdown, restrictions going up and down, all the Governor had to do is just work with the Legislature. She didn’t. Finally, the Recall Elections were finally getting traction and the lawsuits against the Governor’s EO’s were headed to the State’s Supreme Court.
That’s when the Attorney General announced a criminal investigation into the Recall Elections. Now it really starts to sound like a Banana Republic, right? That’s right. and It’s going to get worse. Much worse.
The Supreme Court issued two verdicts. One was on the 1945 law which should have been dispensed back in 1976. It was a 4-3 decision that the law in 1945 allowed too much power to the Governor, stripping too much away from the legislature. Because balance, you know! 4 judges were conservative, three liberal. The Governor’s party hung tight to her.
The second verdict was even more damning to the Governor. In a unanimous decision, 7-0, all Justices said that the Governor’s EO’s all along under the 1976 law were unConstitutional as she did not work with the legislature to make these orders. All she had to do is work with the legislature. President Trump worked with Congress, which the Democrats were laughably partisan over everything and they still worked together. Every other 53 states and territories worked as a team. All but ours.
So, what did our Governor do? Did she learn to play with others? No. Hours after the verdict, she issued yet another EO. Then she released a very strongly worded rebuttal against the Supreme Court where she “vehemently disagreed” with the Court. Think about that for a minute. The Supreme Court simply said “Hey, do what every other Chief Executive in the Free World is doing and work with your legislature. They want to help with COVID.” And she vehemently disagreed with working with others.
Further, she stated publicly that her orders were in effect for the next 21 days!!!!! Lawyers and judges everywhere loudly decreed that that was false. The verdict is effective immediately. She said at the end of 21 days, her EO’s will be enforced through other agencies under different laws. Mind you that before she was Governor, Gretchen Whitmer was a Prosecuting Attorney. The idea that a lawyer thinks she can circumvent the Supreme Court should be very troubling. Very troubling indeed.
So the Courts issued their verdicts on Friday, October 2. My kids in their Homeschool coop were told of the verdict. Their reaction was, after religiously obeying the mask laws, to tear the masks apart, everyone ran around hugging each other and they started singing!!! The Governor basically said the State has to ignore the Supreme Courts verdict for 21 days, actually issued another EO on top of those in direct violation of the verdict, and then a boom got lowered on the Governor. Or should have, at least.
The Attorney General, Governor Whitmer’s staunchest ally….nay, virtually her only ally, announced that her department will not and cannot enforce any of the Governor’s Executive Orders. The boom was lowered. The Governor has no allies left. Sigh…..she didn’t learn yet.
The Governor had the MDHHS, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, issue an emergency order requiring masks using an obscure law from the 1920 Spanish Flu Pandemic. Remember, folks, all she has to do is work with the legislature. The legislature is willing to mandate masks and keep the public safe from the big, bad pandemic.
Sadly this isn’t the only time the Governor hasn’t worked with the legislature. Remember the gas tax? She didn’t get it, so she decided to pay for fixing the roads with 30yr loans. She could have gotten the road repairs paid for from the budget, had she worked with the legislature, but she didn’t. Unlike previous times, she has not been abandoned by her friends on the Supreme Court and in the Attorney General. The wheels are coming off.
Now the question is, are the coming off the Governor’s bandwagon, or our State? This is very dangerous territory for a State to be in during the best of times. We are in some very dire times not just for the nation, but for the world and our State’s Governor seems hellbent on destruction. Pride is a heck of a thing.