Michigan residents sue Gov Whitmer saying pandemic executive order goes too far

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to face backlash over her executive orders amid the coronavirus.

"It's taking a sledge hammer to an ant," said attorney David Helm. "We believe it is over-broad and over-reaching. There is a way to do it appropriately without infringing on Constitutional rights like the governor has."

Attorney David Helm is representing four Michigan residents - three from Oakland County and one from Roscommon, who filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Whitmer - and her executive order.

They argue ordering businesses to shut down, banning travel to private homes and freedom to associate with one another, violates our First and Fifth Amendment rights.

"Our position is, ordering businesses to shut down, preventing residents and citizens from accessing their second homes, within the state is essentially a taking and they need to be compensated for it.

"We are not arguing for political dissidence or any sort of protest. What we are saying, is that people have the right to associate with their friends and family. And that is being unjustly infringed."

Although the pandemic has claimed the lives of thousands people in our state, Helm says they are in favor of most of the restrictions in the governor's original order that follows Centers for Disease Control guidelines. The lawsuit claims the extended order conflicts with state and federal constitutions. 
"We have a hard time reconciling how you can go to the store, but you can't go out on your fishing boat," Helm said. "Or you can go to employer who is essential but a one-man tree trimming operation is not."

Producer note: Under the order it is allowed to use your fishing boat. 

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The governor's deputy press secretary told FOX 2 they are not commenting on pending litigation. During Monday's press conference, Governor Whitmer defended her stay at home order saying she understood the financial struggle and need to be with family and friends, but it's the only way to contain the virus in one of the hardest hit states.

FOX 2: "You don't believe the governor is doing this in the best interest of the people?"

"I do believe the governor is doing it in best interest of the people, but it doesn't necessarily mean it is right or constitutional either," Hem, said.

The lawsuit is also being filed at the state level. They hope a temporary restraining order can be issued in a timely manner.