A group of small business owners in Michigan who say stay-at-home orders by the state’s governor are threatening their livelihoods got a boost Friday from the Trump administration.
“As the president and many states have recognized, the onerous restrictions on civil liberty that Americans have tolerated to slow the spread of Covid-19 cannot continue forever, and the Constitution will not allow them to do so,” the Justice Department said in a court filing in support of a lawsuit challenging executive orders by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan’s Democratic governor has sparred frequently with President Donald Trump over her response to one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. She’s also come under criticism from conservative constituents, including armed militias, demanding freedom from restrictions she’s imposed in the name of public health.
The lawsuit the Trump administration is backing was filed in late April by a franchise of Sotheby’s International Realty, along with a lawn and property maintenance company, an automotive glass exporter, an engine oil and auto parts distributor, a jewelry store, a dental office and an association of car washes.
Whitmer announced May 22 she was extending her stay-at-home order, which first took effect March 24, through June 12, while extending Michigan’s state of emergency through June 19, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Statewide, construction and outdoor work was allowed to resume May 7, and manufacturing on May 11, and Whitmer said Friday she may have news early next week about further loosening of restrictions on Michigan’s economy, the newspaper reported.
Attorney General William Barr has sent warning letters to other governors and has intervened in lawsuits to challenge what the administration regards as overly harsh virus-related restrictions.
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