by Andrew P. Napolitano
“If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.” — Justice George Sutherland (1862 to 1942)
Late last week, the Supreme Court of Michigan — the state’s highest and final court — invalidated the pandemic executive orders of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as well as the statute on which she based those orders. The opinion was a sweeping victory for personal liberty in a free society and was exceptionally gratifying for those of us who believe that the U.S. and state constitutions mean what they say.
Whitmer’s orders were the most draconian in the union, and numerous efforts to dislodge them in state courts had failed until three primary care physicians sued the governor in a federal court in Michigan. The federal judge to whom the case was assigned certified questions of law to the Michigan Supreme Court. This is a rarely used procedure that federal judges employ when they need to know how a state court of last resort will rule on a question of state law.