Michigan Gov. Whitmer cries ‘power grab’ after state GOP challenges her emergency powers

Facing a lawsuit by state Republicans over her use of emergency powers during the coronavirus outbreak, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer fired back Tuesday, accusing the GOP of a “power grab.”

“This is more than a political bluff for a dissatisfied coequal branch of government holding a losing hand under applicable law,” Whitmer wrote in a legal filing submitted Tuesday, according to The Detroit News. “It is a power grab cloaked in the fineries of unfounded legal reasoning.”

Oral arguments in the dispute are set to begin Friday, the News reported.

 

Last week, state Republicans sued Whitmer, a Democrat serving her first term, claiming she overstepped her authority by extending her previous shutdown order in response to the coronavirus.

The GOP claims Whitmer cannot extend an emergency declaration beyond 28 days without approval from the Legislature, according to the News.

Whitmer’s extension was a seizure of lawmaking power from the Legislature “in service of a new executive-domineered legal regime,” the GOP claims in its lawsuit. “In doing so, Defendant takes control of matters at the core of the Legislature’s constitutional mandate. And she does so under no discernible standards or time limits, save vague insistences that an ‘emergency’ requires them.”

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, has accused Whitmer of trying to lead by decree.

“In Michigan, our governor has declared she no longer needs the legislature,” Chatfield wrote on Twitter last week. “What would the country say if the President declared he no longer needed Congress? Is there a double standard? You see, even in pandemics, laws still need to be upheld. We should all be working together.”

In late April, Whitmer extended her emergency order through May 28, hours before it was set to expire, and vetoed a bill that would have limited her powers. The extension came after dozens of demonstrators — some armed with rifles — gathered inside and outside the Capitol building in Lansing earlier in the day.

Whitmer’s orders in response to the outbreak have drawn numerous public protests, as well as online threats of physical harm against Whitmer and other Democrats.

Last week at least one state lawmaker was seen flanked by armed escorts while walking to Michigan’s Capitol following protests that saw armed demonstrators clad in tactical gear storm the building last month to demand the reopening of the state’s economy and the rollback of social distancing measures.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this story.

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