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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who imposed one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country, faces at least two federal lawsuits challenging her April 9 executive order to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In the complaints filed this week, several Michigan residents and one business said the governor’s recent tightening of restrictions infringes on their constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs in Wednesday’s lawsuit “reasonably fear that the draconian encroachments on their freedom set forth in this complaint will, unfortunately, become the ‘new norm,’” according to their complaint, obtained by Reuters.
On April 9 Whitmer signed a new order prohibiting residents from visiting family or friends in groups of any size, in public or private. It also placed restrictions on what types of businesses may operate and restricted essential businesses from selling non-essential items. It also bans travel to second homes and vacation properties.
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Both lawsuits say Whitmer’s order infringes on residents’ constitutional right to associate with other people under the First Amendment and their right to due process. One of the lawsuits adds that the closing of gun shops violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
One of the lawsuits filed in Detroit includes four Michigan residents, one who owns a landscaping business and another who said under the new guidelines he is forbidden from seeing his girlfriend of 14 years because they live in different homes.
Two lawyers and the owner of a different landscaping business are the plaintiffs of the second suit, filed in Grand Rapids.
On Wednesday, the sheriffs of four different Michigan counties announced they would not strictly be enforcing Whitmer’s order.
“We question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority,” the sheriffs said in a press release.
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At the same time, drivers descended on the state capital as part of a noisy protest.
Dubbed “Operation Gridlock” and organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, the protest did just that – creating bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout downtown Lansing as demonstrators blasted their horns, waved Americans flags and hoisted placards deriding Whitmer’s orders and demanding that she reopen the state’s economy.
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“Let’s start with the fact that some counties have no or very few COVID cases and yet are totally shut down,” Rosanne Ponkowski, president of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, said in a statement. “When did a one-size solution solve everyone’s local issues? Governor Whitmer will put you out of business before allowing mere citizens to be responsible for their own behavior. That is madness.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.