Michigan Supreme Court strips Governor Gretchen Whitmer of certain powers


Ethan Thomas, Staff Writer

On October 2nd, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down a law that Governor Gretchen Whitmer used in order to mandate mask usage and ensure her orders remain in effect. This occurred following the group Unlock Michigan collecting over 300,000 signatures in an effort to prevent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from continuing her policies. This would  mean that her power as a governor is not as strong and that masks may not be mandatory.

So who started this petition?

Unlock Michigan, the advocacy group behind the petition, required 250,000 signatures to get their proposed bill to the senate. Through fundraising  efforts, they managed to get just over 300,000 signatures. But what is this group about? As Ron Armstrong puts it, “This initiative isn’t about any one rule, or any one personality. This proposed law simply takes away the ability of a single politician to rule like a monarch for as long as they like. That’s a power no politician of any party should ever have,” said Unlock Michigan co-Chair Ron Armstrong. The group, formed during the pandemic, wants to reduce or remove the measures used by Governor Whitmer during the pandemic. Many of it’s member are happy that they get to see their people power in action.

How does our governor feel about this?

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is not as pleased, as one would imagine. She and her colleagues feel that this is unfortunate news for Michigan’s future. As Whitmer says,  “I think that, in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s really important that we refrain from letting public health become a political football,” Whitmer said. “It’s dangerous. Lives are lost when that happens. The fact that even wearing a mask has become a political statement is really unfortunate, and I’m hopeful that we can show the world that that doesn’t have to be the case.” This pandemic has become politicized in many aspects, regardless of where.

So what does the future of mask wearing look like?

While the Governor now has no power to mandate mask use, many companies and businesses have already said they will require masks, regardless of the Michigan Supreme Court decision. This means that while overall, even though the executive order has been repealed, you may still have to wear a mask. Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, noted in a tweet Friday that some state departments already issued rules and taken actions that mirror some of the requirements included in Whitmer’s orders. This means that some businesses will still require you to wear masks, so make sure you keep it handy.

What does this mean for the future of our state and the pandemic? How prevalent will masks be after the repealment of the executive order? Will schools require masks? What other effects could the repeakment of this law spell out?Many unanswered questions still exist over this topic. In the coming days and weeks, we have to wait for these answers. We can only hope that COVID cases begin to fall in Michigan soon.