‘…needlessly shutting down large sectors of the economy…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) After a pro-life activist filed a federal lawsuit against her, Democrat Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed to back down and allow peaceful protests to continue throughout the Wuhan virus pandemic.
The activist, Andrew Belanger, took Whitmer and several Detroit police officers to court after they attempted to arrest him and a handful of other pro-lifers, who were holding signs in front of Scotsdale Women’s Center and Family Planning, on March 31.
More than eight officers showed up at the protest and warned Belanger that he was violating Whitmer’s shelter-in-place order.
The order, however, does not forbid individuals from being outside, as long as they respect the federal government’s social distancing guidelines.
But Belanger was told that pro-life protests are not “essential,” and must therefore be stopped.
Belanger was handed a citation. He filed a federal lawsuit against Whitmer and the Detroit Police Department shortly thereafter.
Whitmer’s office then issued a clarification that “persons may engage in expressive activities” as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines. According to Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown, this exception for protests “was always the case,” she told the Detroit News on Friday.
“The constitutional protections remain in place and the governor is fully committed to protecting them,” Brown said.
Whitmer’s latest executive order, however, suggests otherwise. While many states are beginning to release plans to roll back social distancing restrictions, Whitmer signed an executive order last week tightening Michigan’s restrictions. The state’s stores must now “close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint.” Residents are not allowed to use their motorized boats, but they can kayak. And citizens are forbidden from traveling to their vacation homes, their neighbor’s house, or to see their relatives.
The arbitrary restrictions have created unnecessary confusion in the state. At least two Michigan residents were prevented from buying child car seats — an accessory that is required by law — because the stores were unclear on what Whitmer’s order does and does not consider essential. Whitmer’s office told the Detroit News that her order does not apply to child car seats, but refused to admit responsibility for the confusion.
Whitmer’s new restrictions have led to frustration throughout the state. An online petition demanding that Whitmer be recalled has garnered more than 200,000 signature in just a few days.
“Recall Governor Whitmer. Her failure’s (sic) during the Covid-19 Corona Virus is (sic) causing more Michiganders to get sick,” the petition, created by John Powell, states. “Closing and banning various non essential businesses and activities while leaving others open. Further promoting the pandemic.”
GOP House members urged Whitmer to amend her latest executive order, calling it “far too restrictive.”
“Instead of needlessly shutting down large sectors of the economy and further restricting the lives of residents, we believe amending Executive Order 2020-42 can achieve our shared goal of protecting public health while also beginning the slow process of resuscitating our economy,” six Michigan Republicans wrote in a letter to Whitmer on Tuesday.