The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a recall effort, aimed at unseating the state’s Democrat governor Gretchen Whitmer, can move forward, agreeing with the state’s Board of Canvassers, which approved several recall petitions.
Local Detroit media reports that the court “affirmed the board’s approval of seven petitions, six seeking to recall Whitmer and one seeking to recall Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. One additional recall petition was remanded to correct a ‘scrivener’s error’ in stating the date on which an order was issued.”
Of the six recall petitions, five are aimed at Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic and one is aimed at a trip to Israel that Whitmer took in 2019 before the pandemic began.
Whitmer has, as The Daily Wire reported, been under fire for her behavior during the pandemic, at first approving a policy similar to one in New York, demanding that nursing and adult care facilities accept recovering coronavirus patients regardless of whether they remained contagious or tested positive for the virus.
Last week, lawyers for the conservative Mackinac Center Legal Foundation suggested that Whitmer’s administration “undercounted” nursing home deaths, according to Fox News, and that the official tally — 5,600 — could be far lower than the actual tally. Michigan’s government contends that it is difficult to separate nursing home deaths from other COVID-19 deaths.
Whitmer has also been caught breaking her state’s own COVID-19 regulations. Last week, she was seen in photographs attending a gathering at an East Lansing, Michigan, restaurant with at least ten other people, despite a state rule mandating that only six individuals can sit together inside a restaurant. As a result, Whitmer pledged to lift the restriction on July 1st.
Just days earlier, an investigative report revealed that Whitmer had defied her own recommendations about traveling during the pandemic, flying to Florida on a private jet to visit her ailing father. Whitmer insisted that taxpayers did not pay for her trip and that it was purely to check on her parent, not a “spring break” jaunt, but Whitmer did not specify what kind of travel Michigan residents should avoid, only that they should stay out of the state of Florida over concerns about COVID-19 variants.
Five of the recall petitions take aim at Whitmer’s COVID-19 leadership directly. Whitmer’s administration fought most of the petitions not on the basis of content but on the theory that they were ambiguous and vague, under Michigan’s recall rules.
The court’s decision, MLive noted, does not mean the recall effort will make the ballot.
“The petitions do have a high bar to clear to get recalls approved. According to state law, the recall petitions would need more than one million signatures in 60 days,” the outlet noted Saturday. “In order for the petitions to go on the August ballot, they would have had to meet the deadline in April. It is unclear if they could end up on the November ballot, which is meant for local elections this year. That deadline is July 30.”
Whitmer’s office responded to the decision by labeling the recall petitions a Republican plot.
“We plan to appeal this disappointing decision and we fully intend to beat back these irresponsible partisan attacks against the Governor in the courts, on the streets, or at the ballot,” the governor’s spokesperson told media in a statement. “This is part of a massive and coordinated attack by Republicans trying to make the Governor fail and our campaign will strenuously oppose these efforts so the Governor can keep saving lives, reopening our economy, and creating jobs.”