Is MI county board right to support impeaching Gov. Whitmer?


Fact Box

  • Gretchen Whitmer is the current Governor of Michigan. Previously, she represented Michigan District 23 in the Senate from 2006 to 2015. She is known for her stances on discrimination bias, clean water, and equal pay. 
  • Impeachment is the process of removing a government official through the House of Representatives. Once impeached, the official will be tried for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In order to be convicted and removed, there needs to be a two-thirds vote in the Senate. 
  • Michigan has been on an upward spike in coronavirus cases, with 6,290 new cases on Tuesday, November 24, and 145 reported deaths. 
  • Since the spike, Gov. Whitmer has set up new coronavirus protocols, but Michigan county boards have spoken out against her guidelines, saying her orders were “unconstitutional.” Calls for her impeachment are supported by county officials and residents.

Bill (Yes)

The MI County Board is right to support impeaching Governor Whitmer. The articles of impeachment drafted by Republican lawmakers cite multiple instances of Whitmer exceeding her authority by issuing executive orders that Michigan's Supreme Court determined violate the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The Act mandates that the Governor seek legislative approval before extending executive orders beyond their original 28-day limit. Additionally, the court overturned the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, which Whitmer used as the basis for issuing her executive orders, as it violates the separation of powers by ceding to the Governor authority that is reserved for the legislature. In June, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that she inappropriately issued emergency orders that carried potential fines of up to $70,000 and felony penalties for violations. Michigan law limits violations of emergency orders to misdemeanor crimes.

Republicans charge that Whitmer's COVID-related emergency orders were at odds with Michiganders' interests by infringing on their first amendment rights through restricting the free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly by mandating residents remain homebound with limited exceptions. Also, Whitmer's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs took the unusual step of interfering with the practice of medicine by issuing a letter cautioning physicians and pharmacists with potential threats of 'administrative action' for prescribing or supplying hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Governor Whitmer's numerous transgressions, including her efforts to circumvent the legislature and the state constitution, violate her constitutional oath of office. The MI County Board is justified in seeking to impeach Whitmer for her actions.

Kevin (No)

While Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock is accusing Gov. Whitmer of executive overreach, saying that she 'crossed the line,' other 'key Republicans' in the state government do not support the move. A look at Maddock's own Twitter page shows him sharing links from outlets such as One America News and Breitbart, noted purveyors of far-right misinformation. Both of these sources have been criticized for sharing bad information about the COVID pandemic specifically, which suggests that Maddock and others who share his views are not to be taken seriously in this regard. Although a list he posted on Facebook contains several allegations--and Whitmer does appear to have made some questionable moves--the evidence and timing points to this being mostly a retaliation for new restrictions.

Whitmer's press secretary says she was 'focused on saving lives,' and considering the state of coronavirus spread since reopening, the stay-at-home orders and other measures do not seem to have been out of line. What Maddock and others seem to fail to take into account is that coronavirus restrictions are intended to protect others as much as oneself. To frame this as an issue of infringing on individual rights is seemingly missing that point. Similar logic applies to business closures. While there is the added problem of the economy to consider with such closures, continuing to spread the virus and cause more deaths wouldn't be good in the financial long-run either, and lives should be more important than money.

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