News and Commentary

Michigan Barber Demands Charges Against Him Be Dropped After State Supreme Court Strikes Down Whitmer’s Lockdown Order
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks before Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) at the Detroit Pistons Practice Facility in Detroit, Michigan on September 22, 2020. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A Michigan barber battling the state over coronavirus restrictions is calling for charges against him to be dropped after the state Supreme Court voided Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown order.

Owosso barber Karl Manke reopened his shop on May 4 days after Whitmer’s original state of emergency declaration over the pandemic expired, and when the Michigan Supreme Court said that her emergency regulations should have expired. Manke has been fighting the state in court for months over his decision to reopen his business.

“I appreciate the Supreme Court stepping in and recognizing that I do not lose constitutional protections just because of speculation and innuendo. I am not a health threat to anyone, and I have a right to continue to cut hair and earn a living,” Manke said in a statement, according to WNEM. “The Courts have consistently upheld my constitutional rights affirming that the Governor’s attempts to shut me down were out of line.”

Attorney David Kallman, who is representing Manke against the state, added, “I am pleased that our Supreme Court upheld our constitutional rights, and that cooler heads have prevailed. Our clients are not a threat to the public’s health, safety, and welfare. This is a great day for upholding the rule of law and restoring good governance. I trust Governor Whitmer will comply with the Court’s ruling now.”

The court ruled against Whitmer on Friday, saying that neither of the state laws which Whitmer has used to extend her executive power under multiple, consecutive emergency declarations gave her such authority. The court said in a 4-3 majority ruling that “We conclude that the Governor lacked the authority to declare a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘state of disaster’ under the [1976 Emergency Management Act] after April 30, 2020, on the basis of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The ruling went on to say that 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act was also misapplied by the governor.

Whitmer issued a statement later Friday condemning the ruling. As The Daily Wire reported:

Whitmer called the ruling “deeply disappointing” and said that it’s putting Michigan at risk for a resurgence of the coronavirus after “I have done everything in my power to protect our seniors, small businesses, and first responders from the worst public health emergency in over a century.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April.”

She added that her lockdown orders remain in place for 21 more days after the ruling. After that, a number of unspecified actions will still remain in effect under different authority, she said.

“It is important to note that this ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, and until then, my emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law. Furthermore, after 21 days, many of the responsive measures I have put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling,” the statement said.