Outside Legal Counsel PLC

OLC Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Advocacy Group in Michigan Legislature's Historic Lawsuit

For Immediate Release | May 14, 2020

Today, attorney Philip L. Ellison (together with co-counsel Matthew Gronda) has filed an amicus brief on behalf of the non-profit advocacy group Michigan United for Liberty.

The brief points out that the two statutes being utilized by Governor Gretchen Whitmer are unconstitutional when enacted in 1945 and 1976. As explained, the "current lawsuit pending between two branches of state government, being presented to the third, is nothing short of a constitutional crisis created by our state leaders of yesteryear." Yet,
"a statute's longevity does not support its propriety."

The brief also offers a direct solution--read and apply our constitution.

Many may ask--what is a governor to do in times of crisis when the current laws are believed to be ill-equipped to handle the emergency? The Constitution, again, provides the answer.

For "disasters occurring in this state caused by enemy attack on the United States," the Legislature can take immediate steps. Const 1963, art IV, sec 39. For anything else, "the governor may convene the legislature on extraordinary occasions." Const 1963, art V, sec 15. At this session, the governor can provide "information as to the affairs of the state and recommend measures he [or she] considers necessary or desirable." Const 1963, art V, sec 17. While in that session and with the approval of People's representatives, the Legislature can enact any needed new laws or amend incompatible ones to aid in the response to the extraordinary occasion or crisis.

Upon such passage, the governor must then "take care" that these new and amended laws "be faithfully executed." Const 1963, art V, sec 8.
"In short, when all else fails, read and follow the owner's manual."

This amicus brief joins others filed by Michigan House Democratic Leader Christine Greig and the House of Democratic Caucus, the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus, Professor Richard Primus, "41 Healthcare Professionals," the Michigan Nurses Association, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.