Congressman sues Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over handling of coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis

Rep. Paul Mitchell says Whitmer’s actions violate his constitutional rights

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) is suing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, saying her actions violate his constitutional rights.

Whitmer recently extended her state of emergency without the approval of Michigan legislators, who have promised to retaliate legally. The state is under a stay-at-home order through May 15.

Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell during a July 24, 2019, interview. (WDIV)
Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell during a July 24, 2019, interview. (WDIV)

Though Whitmer loosened restrictions on businesses such as landscaping, golf and motorized boating, protesters have gathered at the capital demanding the state reopen more quickly.

In his lawsuit, Mitchell claims Whitmer’s initial orders were intended to “flatten the curve” and that the curve was flattened during the first week of April, according to data.

“Yet the governor has nonetheless continued to issue stricter and unclear executive orders that unreasonably and unnecessarily interfere with constitutional rights under the rubric of a continuing ‘emergency,’” the lawsuit states.

Mitchell argues that emergencies are temporary and accuses Whitmer of wielding the sole power to decide when this emergency will end.

“There is no question that infectious diseases are, unfortunately, a part of everyday life,” the lawsuit states. “Some are more susceptible to certain illnesses than others. But Michiganders can and do take reasonable, private action to protect themselves from infection without the need to shut down civil society.

“Given that they projected surge has not occurred, there is no basis, either legally or factually, to continue any further mandatory lockdown orders under criminal penalty.”

Mitchell is seeking a judicial declaration that Whitmer’s orders are unconstitutional under several clauses.

The lawsuit is designed to “define the limits of a state’s police power.”

Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

You can view the full lawsuit below.

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