Michigan's AG office: We will no longer enforce Whitmer's orders through criminal prosecution
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will no longer enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders, which were made during the coronavirus pandemic, through criminal prosecution.
"However, her decision is not binding on other law enforcement agencies or state departments with independent enforcement authority," a statement released on Nessel's behalf says.
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On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against Whitmer's powers to extend emergency declarations enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, which were created to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, the effects of this ruling are still unclear, with Whitmer saying Friday it does not take place for another 21 days.
“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.
On Sunday, Whitmer's press secretary Tiffany Brown issued a statement saying the governor is ready to work across the aisle with Republicans in the Legislature where we can find common ground."
"But she won’t let partisan politics get in the way of doing what’s necessary to keep people safe and save lives," the statement said. "The Supreme Court’s ruling raises several legal questions that we are still reviewing. While we are moving swiftly, this transition will take time.
"As the governor said last week, many of the responsive measures she has put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in the court’s ruling. We will have more to say on this in the coming days."
Nessel's press secretary said it is possible to respect the court's decision and the advice of medical experts by voluntarily wearing masks, social distancing and staying at home when feeling ill.
"If it weren’t for the Governor’s actions, countless more of our friends, family and neighbors would have been lost to COVID-19," the news release says.
More: Whitmer's order to put U.P. in Phase 4 in question after court ruling
Whitmer was commended by the American Civil Liberties Union for her response to the pandemic.
Michigan has lost 6,801 people as of Saturday to the novel coronavirus, with cases rising in the Upper Peninsula.
View the statistics at the Detroit Free Press coronavirus tracker.
Nisa Khan is a data intern for the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @mnisakhan. Freep reporters Dave Boucher and Todd Spangler contributed to this report.