Michigan state supreme court backs barber Karl Manke against Democratic governor

by WorldTribune Staff, June 7, 2020

The state Supreme Court of Michigan ruled in favor of the 77-year-old barber who opened his shop in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown orders.

Karl Manke: ‘I feel like I have been ruled over with a heavy hand, not governed, and my constitutional rights have been trampled underfoot.’ / YouTube

The court in a unanimous ruling on Friday ruled Karl Manke could open his shop.

“It is incumbent on the courts to ensure decisions are made according to the rule of law, not hysteria,” state Justice David Viviano wrote in a concurring opinion. “One hopes that this great principle — essential to any free society, including ours — will not itself become yet another casualty of COVID-19.”

The court overturned the decision of an appeals court which upheld a temporary restraining order the Whitmer administration had sought.

The decision also makes moot a motion by the state attorney general to hold Manke in contempt and be fined $5,000 a day for cutting hair while observing social distancing rules, according to Manke’s attorney.

Manke, who reopened his shop on May 4 after Whitmer’s first shutdown extension, issued a statement saying he was grateful for the court’s decision.

“I needed to work and figured it was time to move forward,” he said. “But I feel like I have been ruled over with a heavy hand, not governed, and my constitutional rights have been trampled underfoot. It is high time for all of Michigan to stand up, open up for business, and for people in the our community to show up in support.”

David Kallman, Manke’s attorney, had appealed to the state Supreme Court on the grounds the appeals court’s 2-1 overruling of the district judge was in violation of a Michigan law requiring such commands to be made only by unanimous panels and in extraordinary circumstances.

“I am gratified that the Supreme Court was not swayed by speculation and hyperbole,” Kallman said. “I applaud the court for its continued commitment to adhere to the rule of law. This is a great day in Michigan for the protection of everyone’s constitutional rights.”


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