Court hears Legislature’s suit against governor

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Court of Claims on Friday morning heard arguments on the Republican-led Legislature’s lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer regarding her response to the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

Proceedings streamed live on the Court of Claims’ YouTube channel.

Republicans, who control both chambers of the Legislature, want the court to declare Whitmer’s stay-at-home and other executive orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus “invalid and unenforceable,” arguing she has overstepped the bounds of her authority by extending the emergency response without lawmakers’ approval.

The governor argues her actions are legal under two laws — one from 1945 and the other from 1976 — and that the Legislature lacks standing to file a suit. She also says that tossing out her orders would threaten public health.

Judge Cynthia Stephens, a third-term State Court of Appeals judge originally appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and seated on the Court of Claims in 2015, presided. She has not yet issued a ruling.

Regardless of her decision, the losing side is sure to appeal, which means things probably won’t change right away. It’s likely the Michigan Supreme Court will have the final say.