Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer(D) has been hit with at least two federal lawsuits from residents pushing back on what they say are “draconian” mandates during the coronavirus pandemic, with one attorney likening her actions to “taking a sledge hammer to an ant.”
What are the details?
Reuters reported that separate complaints were filed in federal court on Tuesday and Wednesday wherein “several Michigan residents and one business accused the Democratic governor of violating their constitutional rights by imposing her ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order.”
The plaintiffs in Wednesday’s lawsuit claimed they “reasonably fear that the draconian encroachments on their freedom set forth in this complaint will, unfortunately, become the ‘new norm.'”
David Helm, an attorney who represents four of the plaintiffs suing Whitmer, told WJBK-TV of the governor’s executive order, “It’s like taking a sledge hammer to an ant. We believe it is over-broad and over-reaching. There is a way to do it appropriately without infringing on Constitutional rights like the governor has.”
Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders go far beyond what most governors have issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are some of the most stringent measures in the nation — barring Michiganders from purchasing seeds for planting and even banning travel between households.
Along with the lawsuits, Whitmer has faced major pushback for her policies. A petition has been launched to have her recalled, thousands of demonstrators surrounded the Capitol building in Lansing in protest of her mandates earlier this week, and several county sheriffs in the state announced they would not strictly enforce her policies saying she was “overstepping her executive authority.”
For better or worse, the attention surrounding Whitmer’s orders has gained her national name recognition to the point that she is now being floated by pundits as a possible vice presidential pick of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.