(RightWing.org) – In 2018, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won Michigan’s highest office by a slim margin with just 53% of the vote. In 2020, Whitmer was a highly controversial figure in the spring as she instituted some of the strictest controls on residents anywhere in the country to combat COVID-19. Due to the pandemic’s resurgence, the governor is calling for new limitations that will last for three weeks.
While the rate of cases is substantially higher than in the spring, the restrictions are not as limited. They include closing schools, indoor dining, movie theaters, casinos, organized youth sports, and a mandate that people work from home unless that’s not possible. The governor’s orders irked some in the Michigan legislature who are now calling for her impeachment.
In early October, the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled that the governor’s executive orders under the 1945 Emergency Powers Act were unconstitutional after the Republican-led legislature claimed the governor was locking them out. The court agreed and said the law Whitmer was using was an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch, which resulted in her having unchecked authority.
Articles of Impeachment Filed
On Wednesday, November 18, three Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment. Rep. Beau LaFave introduced the resolution with the support of fellow Republican Reps. Matt Maddock and Daire Rendon.
The resolution includes four articles of impeachment:
- Failure to respect the separation of powers by exercising power granted to the legislative branch.
- Violating the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan.
- Issuing executive orders against the interests of the people and state.
- Using state resources to reward political allies.
The three Republicans argue that the governor is again bypassing the legislature and that she doesn’t have the authority to make or amend laws on her own to protect public health.
Is There Support?
The Michigan Constitution states that the House can impeach public officials for corrupt conduct in office or for crimes and misdemeanors. LaFave claims that support for impeachment is growing in the House. However, the Republican leadership is balking at the idea. On Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker Lee Chatfield said the impeachment resolution would not be considered on the House floor.
In the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said he hasn’t signed on to impeachment proceedings.
It’s unknown if enough support will be gathered to impeach or remove Gov. Whitmer. In the House, impeachment only requires a simple majority vote. However, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove the governor, and Democrats hold 42% of the seats.
Both the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader oppose how Whitmer has handled COVID-19. Both believe the legal process in court serves the legislature better than impeachment. If the courts agree with Republicans, it will serve as a check on Whitmer and future governors as well.
The impeachment resolution has been sent to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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