Court rules Michigan stay-at-home order does not infringe on constitutional rights

No versions infringe on rights, court says


LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Court of Claims ruled Wednesday that the stay-at-home order does not infringe on constitutional rights.

The court also denied a motion for preliminary injunction, ruling that the current version of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order and previous versions don’t violate rights.

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According to Attorney General Dana Nessel, Martinko et. al. v. Whitmer et. al. alleged that the “mandatory quarantine” and intrastate travel restrictions in an earlier version violated rights to both procedural due process and substantive due process.

Judge Christopher Murray said that the rights are fundamental but said the public’s best interest is important.

“Those liberty interests are, and always have been, subject to society’s interests -- society being our fellow residents,” he said. "They -- our fellow residents -- have an interest to remain unharmed by a highly communicable and deadly virus, and since the state entered the Union in 1837, it has had the broad power to act for the public health of the entire state when faced with a public crisis.”

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Murray said that issuing injunctive relief “would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”

The plaintiffs also alleged that the Emergency Management Act is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the governor.

However, the court said the act does not provide the governor with “uncontrolled, arbitrary power.”

VIEW: A timeline of closures, event bans, stay-at-home orders

The stay-at-home order has been the center of debate and has garnered both praise and criticism.

Two weeks ago, thousands gathered in Lansing to protest the order.

READ: ‘Operation Gridlock’ -- Michigan stay-at-home order protested in Lansing

Lawmakers have also expressed that they did not support parts of the order, especially parts that closed certain areas of big box stores and prevented some types of work.

When Whitmer extended the order last week, she removed some restrictions, allowing some workers, including landscapers and people who work for lawn-service companies, plant nurseries and bike repair shops, could get back to work.

That new order also allowed big box stores to reopen areas previously restricted, such as areas selling paint and carpet.

She went a step further Wednesday, announcing that construction work can resume May 7.

Read the court’s full ruling: