Impeachment Articles against Michigan Governor

 

Impeachment Articles against Michigan Governor

The following Articles of Impeachment have been filed against the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmere:

THIS RESOLUTION IS OFFERED TO COMPLY WITH ARTICLE XI, SECTION 7 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN OF 1963.

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO.324

Reps. LaFave, Maddock and Rendon offered the following resolution:

A resolution directing the impeachment of Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, for corrupt conduct in office and crimes and misdemeanors.

Whereas, Article XI, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 states, in part:

The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching civil officers for corrupt conduct in office or for crimes or misdemeanors, but a majority of the members elected thereto and serving therein shall be necessary to direct an impeachment.

; and

Whereas, In responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Gretchen E. Whitmer has acted in conflict with her constitutional duties as Governor. She has exceeded her constitutional authority, violated the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issued orders that are not in the best interests of the people of this state, and used the Pandemic as an opportunity to reward political allies. These actions are a matter of public record, primarily in the form of executive orders and the enforcement thereof; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, is impeached for corrupt conduct in office and for crimes and misdemeanors. The following Articles of Impeachment are adopted by the House of Representatives and shall be exhibited to the Senate:

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN AGAINST GRETCHEN E. WHITMER, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HER FOR CORRUPT CONDUCT IN OFFICE AND FOR CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS.

ARTICLE I

     Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, has violated her constitutional oath of office by failing to respect the separation of powers and by exercising powers expressly granted to the legislative branch in the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963. Governor Whitmer, through numerous executive orders, has bypassed the legislative process, refusing to work with the Legislature even when the Legislature has been in session, opting to effectively enact, amend, and repeal laws on her own.

Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, “The powers of government are divided into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. No person exercising powers of one branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another branch except as expressly provided in this constitution.”

Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “… the legislative power of the State of Michigan is vested in a senate and a house of representatives.”

Article V, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “… the executive power is vested in the governor.”

Article IV, Section 51 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “The legislature shall pass suitable laws for the protection and promotion of the public health.”

Article XI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “All officers, legislative, executive and judicial, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ………. according to the best of my ability.”

Governor Whitmer’s actions during the COVID-19 Pandemic have exceeded the executive powers granted to the Governor in the state constitution, and she has exercised powers properly belonging to the legislative branch. Governor Whitmer has issued dozens of executive orders which have been expansive in scope and have reordered life for every person in the state. The orders include, but are not limited, to: prohibiting evictions (Executive Order No. 2020-19 and Executive Order No. 2020-54); banning non-essential medical procedures (Executive Order No. 2020-17); permitting public bodies to meet electronically (Executive Order No. 2020-15, Executive Order No. 2020-48, and Executive Order No. 2020-75); permitting public bodies to delay fulfilment of public records requests (Executive Order No. 2020-38); closing businesses (Executive Order No. 2020-09, Executive Order No. 2020-20, Executive Order No. 2020-43, and Executive Order No. 2020-69); and requiring residents to stay in their homes with limited exceptions (Executive Order No. 2020-21, Executive Order No. 2020-42, Executive Order No. 2020-59, Executive Order No. 2020-70, Executive Order No. 2020-77, Executive Order No. 2020-92, and Executive Order No. 2020-96). Through these orders, Governor Whitmer has unilaterally overridden legislatively enacted laws — including, but not limited, to the Revised Judicature Act, the Open Meetings Act, and the Freedom of Information Act — and created new laws in violation of the separation of powers guaranteed in the state constitution.

State law grants emergency powers to the Governor for the purpose of responding to immediate crises, but the Governor may only act in a manner that is consistent with the constitutionally mandated separation of powers. The state constitution does not permit the Governor to bypass the legislative process nor does it empower her to unilaterally make or amend laws for the protection of public health.

Governor Whitmer has repeatedly stated that the she does not need further legislative authorization for any of her actions and continues to violate the separation of powers even when the Legislature has been in session passing bills in the response to the Pandemic. Her efforts to circumvent the Legislature and the state constitution are violations of her constitutional oath of office.

Wherefore, Gretchen E. Whitmer, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

ARTICLE II

Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, has failed to uphold her constitutional oath of office by violating rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963. Governor Whitmer, through executive orders, has restricted and effectively banned the free exercise of religion in the state of Michigan in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

Article XI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 provides, in part, “All officers, legislative, executive and judicial, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ………. according to the best of my ability.”

During the course of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Whitmer has issued the following executive orders which have restricted the free exercise of religion in the state of Michigan: Executive Order No. 2020-05, Executive Order No. 2020-11, Executive Order No. 2020-21, Executive Order No. 2020-42, Executive Order No. 2020-59, Executive Order No. 2020-70, Executive Order No. 2020-77, Executive Order No. 2020-92, and Executive Order No. 2020-96. These orders have limited the number of people who may gather in one place and restricted individuals’ ability to leave their homes to participate in religious worship and events.

While the Governor’s later orders have included language indicating that places of worship and individuals participating in religious practices would not be subject to criminal penalties for violating the orders, the restriction itself – even if not enforced via criminal process in all circumstances – is a direct violation of the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan.

Governor Whitmer swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 and her executive orders banning gatherings and requiring people to stay at home have infringed upon rights guaranteed in both.

Wherefore, Gretchen E. Whitmer, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

ARTICLE III

     In responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, has taken a number of extreme actions that have not been necessary for the protection of public and have had significant adverse effects on the people of Michigan. While the Pandemic is a serious public health crisis requiring substantial mitigation efforts, Governor Whitmer’s aggressive and poorly justified actions — such as banning nearly all non-emergency medicine and the use of motorized boats — are evidence of the Governor’s failure to properly manage this crisis.

Governor Whitmer banned all non-essential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures under Executive Order No. 2020-17, Executive Order No. 2020-32, and Executive Order No. 2020-34. Similarly, Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders — Executive Order No. 2020-21, Executive Order No. 2020-42, Executive Order No. 2020-59, Executive Order No. 2020-70, and Executive Order No. 2020-77 — have only granted exceptions for people leaving their residences to seek medical or dental care to treat a medical emergency or when necessary to preserve a person’s health or safety.

This universal, state-wide prohibition on medical, dental, and veterinary care that the Governor has deemed “non-essential” has had significant consequences for the people of Michigan and for health care providers across our state. While postponing some elective procedures may not pose an immediate health risk to patients, many procedures have been banned even though they are still needed to preserve patients’ quality of life and long-term well-being.

Closing down significant portions of the health care system has had destructive effects on hospitals, clinics, and other providers. Health care providers rely on revenue from procedures and treatment of all kinds to remain in business and banning them from providing a full range of services to their patients has led to layoffs and furloughs. Providers in areas of the state with fewer cases have faced particularly negative consequences, as their facilities sit empty, unable to treat patients in need despite the capacity to do so.

Health and hospital organizations, such as the American Hospital Association, have issued standards to guide the safe resumption of elective surgeries and other procedures. Numerous other states have determined it is safe and appropriate to ease their restrictions on elective medical treatments as the stress on their healthcare systems from COVID-19 abated, but Governor Whitmer continued to impose onerous limitations on important health care on a state-wide basis with no considerations made for regional differences in the spread of COVID-19 or the enormous economic impact the health care prohibitions have caused.

Governor Whitmer further acted against the interest of the people of Michigan with no connection to public safety in temporarily banning the use of motorized boats under Executive Order No. 2020-42. Under the order, as interpreted by the Department of Natural Resources, the use of a motorboat, jet ski, or similar watercraft was prohibited even though non-motorized boating, such as canoeing, kayaking, and sailing were permitted under the order.

While Governor Whitmer ultimately eliminated the prohibition on the use of motorized boats through Executive Order No. 2020-59 after a massive public outcry, the lack of consistency and clear justification for certain prohibitions was arbitrary and not necessary for the protection of public health. Utilizing the emergency powers of the Governor to take arbitrary and needless actions is a direct violation of the constitutional oath of office which requires Governor Whitmer to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Governor…” The inability or unwillingness of Governor Whitmer to apply the law in a fair and reasonable manner has caused needless confusion and hardship for the people of this state.

Governor Whitmer’s arbitrary actions have caused avoidable harm, do not protect the public health, and demonstrate her failure to uphold the duties of her office.

Wherefore, Gretchen E. Whitmer, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Article IV

     Gretchen E. Whitmer, Governor of the state of Michigan, sought to direct a no-bid contract for COVID-19 contact tracing to a partisan political firm, utilizing state resources to reward political allies.

     The state announced in April 2020 that it had approved a contract to use the platform EveryAction VAN to help track information and contacts and to help organize phone banking for the purposes of contact tracing. EveryAction VAN has direct ties to people and organizations that perform political work for political parties, organizations, and candidates in Michigan.

     While the Governor and members of the administration disputed the extent to which political considerations were part of the decision to choose this platform, there is no dispute that EveryAction VAN’s leadership also does political work through its other companies.

     The contract was cancelled after it became public and faced backlash, but the attempt to award a no-bid contract to a partisan firm that would have granted access to extremely personal and sensitive information of Michigan’s citizens is a clear abuse of power. Using the urgency of a public health crisis to attempt to reward partisan allies is a violation of the public trust.

Wherefore, Gretchen E. Whitmer, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

; and be it further

Resolved, That in accordance with Article XI, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963, the House of Representatives will proceed with the election of three members from its own body whose duty it shall be to prosecute such impeachment and that these members are authorized and empowered to prepare and present the Articles of Impeachment adopted by this resolution.

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