The judges' decision puts nearly 1 million unemployment claims at risk.
The Michigan Supreme Court will not allow any of the executive orders made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act to remain in effect until the end of October.
With many of Governor Whitmer's orders affecting public health and the burgeoning unemployment rate in Michigan, the governor was hoping for additional time to coordinate a response with state lawmakers. However, Republican leaders in Congress demanded that the court's decision take effect immediately.
And on Monday, Republicans got their wish when the court turned down Whitmer's motion in a 6-1 ruling.
The judges, MLive.com adds, had previously been asked to hear a case regarding Governor Whitmer's continued application of the Emergency Powers Act to issue executive orders related to coronavirus without legal approval. While the Supreme Court did not necessarily condemn Whitmer's issuing of orders, the judges condemned the EPGA as unconstitutional in a separate 4-3 judgment.
And because the court found the law illegal, all orders issued under this law were retrospectively declared invalid from the end of April.
Following the court's decision, Governor Whitmer asked the court to make the state available by October 31st to coordinate a legislative response with the State Congress.
The current Michigan government and former Ford School faculty Gretchen Whitmer will deliver a speech in 2015. Image via Flickr / User: FordSchool. (CCA-BY-2.0).
Chief Justice Bridget McCormack wrote for the majority that the court did not have the power to grant the governor's motion.
"Executive orders issued under this law have no continuing legal effect," the ruling said. "This order will take effect upon entry."
Judge Richard Bernstein, the only member of the Tribunal who disagreed, stressed the unintended consequences of the annulment of Whitmer's orders.
"Even assuming lawmakers can act quickly, the governor notes that up to 830,000 active claimants could lose their benefits once this court's opinion goes into effect," wrote Bernstein. "This represents a significant potential disruption to the livelihood of Michigan at a time of great public crisis."
Despite the effect, Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield of Levering praised the judges' decision.
"Another great victory on the Supreme Court today!" Chatfield wrote on Twitter. "The law is the law, and partisan policy cannot change that. People will finally hear their voices. The house will be back tomorrow and I hope the governor is ready to work together. It is time to work together!"
The Republican-led Michigan legislature has already begun drafting a bill to combat unemployment benefits.
But Conservatives have also tried to put their jobless proposal on a different set of bills – bills that would make it virtually impossible for Michiganders to sue employers or companies that fail to protect workers and the public from coronavirus.
The Michigan Supreme Court denies Whitmer's motion to expand his emergency powers
The Michigan Supreme Court is knocking down Governor Whitmer's emergency orders with immediate effect