Few state leaders have shown as much disdain for our constitutional form of government during the pandemic as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She apparently has no respect for limitations placed on officeholders like herself by both the federal and state constitution. The rules don’t apply to her, and she feels she can do whatever she wants as long as it’s in the name of “public health.”
However, there is no public health emergency clause in either the Federal or Michigan State Constitution that allows a governor to indefinitely forgo working with the state legislature and to unilaterally impose restrictions on the lives of ten million Michiganders.
However, some Republican state legislatures are attempting to reassert their constitutional role in the Michigan state government and have filed articles of impeachment against Governor Whitmer. The articles claim that Whitmer violated separation of powers and used her office in a corrupt manner.
Representative Beau LaFave filed the impeachment articles last week. The Detroit News reported, “LaFave’s resolution includes four articles and contends that Whitmer ‘has exceeded her constitutional authority’ and ‘issued orders that are not in the best interests of the people of this state.’
‘The state constitution does not permit the Governor to bypass the legislative process nor does it empower her to unilaterally make or amend laws for the protection of public health,’ one of the articles says, referring to orders Whitmer has issued to try to stem the spread of COVID-19.”
Unfortunately, Republican leadership is not getting onboard the impeachment train.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield said the following in response to the articles of impeachment:
“Republicans are not the party that impeaches because we have disagreements. And Republicans are not the party that impeaches because we don’t like policies. I think what the Democrats did to President Trump in 2019 was shameful. The voters in the state of Michigan are going to have the opportunity have their voices heard in 2022.
If voters want to try to remove the governor sooner, they can attempt a recall effort.”
With all due respect to the Speaker, the articles of impeachment are intended for times such as these. When a sitting governor so blatantly flouts constitutional restraints, this is when the state legislature needs to defend their territory, and more importantly, the individual rights of the citizens.
By failing to do so, Chatfield and his colleagues are failing their sworn oath to defend the individual rights of Michiganders.
Another Republican lawmaker believes that Governor Whitmer’s role in sending COVID infected patients back to nursing homes warrants her impeachment as well.
Rep. Matt Maddock argued if Whitmer would have included the legislature in the decision-making process, Whitmer’s nursing home policy, which sent coronavirus-infected patients to the facilities to recuperate, never would have been implemented.
He told Breitbart, “There would have been open debate and discussion on the House floor and in the Senate about whether or not this was a good idea or a bad idea to send people who are COVID-positive into our nursing homes with people who are frail,” Maddock said.
And I guarantee you this: There would not be one vote on the House or the Senate floor that would have allowed her to do that or thought that was a good idea,” he said, dubbing Whitmer a ‘Mean Karen.’”
The third branch of government, the state Supreme Court, already swatted away an unconstitutional executive declaration made by the governor in April. But yet, she still persists in flaunting the other two branches of state government.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that “Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, has acted under two state laws. The Emergency Management Act lets the Governor declare a disaster, but only for 28 days unless a longer period is approved by the Legislature. In this case, Republican lawmakers declined to authorize any declaration past April 30. Ms. Whitmer’s response, the high court said in its opinion, was to end the first emergency and immediately declare a new one ‘for the identical reasons.’”
When this horrific chapter in our nation’s history is over, it will be time to do a postmortem report on government’s response to the pandemic. Obviously, leaders like Whitmer, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, and California’s Gavin Newsom will be reprimanded—however, so should feckless Republican state legislatures who allowed the people’s rights to be trampled on.
They had one job to do and they failed. History should judge them all harshly.