One of the victims of Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s overreaching executive orders is 77-year-old Owosso, MI barber, Karl Manke, who defied the governor’s shutdown order after he realized he was going to lose his business if he didn’t reopen.
After being denied twice by unemployment, Karl Manke said he had enough.
“The governor decided she was going to go another two weeks, and then another two weeks, and now this last time when she said we weren’t going to come back May 1st, that we were going to be secluded here until the 28th– it brought me to my knees.,” Manke said.
In early May, Owosso police cited Manke for a civil infraction and two misdemeanors. A court date is set for June 23, and he faces a more than $1,000 fine.
Governor Whitmer, who has earned the nickname “Governor Whitchmer” by Michiganders who are fed up with her inconsistent and baseless shutdown orders, made it clear that the 77-year-old barber would face the consequences of defying her order.
“Most businesses in the state have a license that is granted from the state, and they are putting themselves at risk by putting their customers and themselves at risk by opening prematurely,” Whitmer said.
Manke promised to fight the restrictions on his business “until Jesus comes.”
On May 13, a Michigan judge denied an attempt by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to immediately shut down an Owosso barbershop whose owner has been cutting hair in defiance of the governor’s coronavirus shutdown order.
The judge denied the state’s claim that the 77-year-old Karl Manke was to close his shop because he was allegedly in violation of Whitmer’s executive order to shut down all non-essential businesses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On May 28, the Michigan Court of Appeals stepped in to close the doors of the 77-year-old barber in Owosso, MI.
The Detroit Free Press -Michigan Court of Appeals has now overturned the lower court order, saying the state of Michigan has the authority to shut down an Owosso barber.
In an order based on a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel overturned a May 21 refusal by the Shiawassee County Circuit Court to issue a preliminary injunction that would have stopped Karl Manke from cutting hair.
Judge Matthew Stewart said the state failed to demonstrate that Manke — who has become something akin to a folk hero among opponents of the stay-home order — posed an imminent threat to public health or safety by continuing to give haircuts.
But the Michigan Court of Appeals sent the case back to Stewart to issue a preliminary injunction against Manke “to immediately cease all operations.”
“Uncontroverted evidence clearly revealed that COVID-19 is a highly communicable illness,” said the majority opinion signed by Judge Stephen Borrello, who was joined by Judge Amy Ronayne Krause.
“Uncontroverted evidence revealed that COVID-19 is spread by infected persons showing no symptoms that could serve to warn others of the possibility of infection,” and “clearly revealed that COVID-19 can be spread from person-to-person quickly and reach people separate from an area of contamination.”
Borrello was appointed to the court by former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2003. Krause was also a Granholm appointee, in 2010.
Today, the Detroit News reported that the Michigan Supreme Court canceled a lower court’s order that demanded Karl Manke immediately close his Owosso barbershop and sent Manke’s case back to the state Court of Appeals for further consideration.
The decision by the state’s high court came with only a concurring opinion written by Justice David Viviano in which he questioned initial handling of the case by a three-judge appeals court panel.
“Courts decide legal questions that arise in the cases that come before us according to the rule of law,” Viviano wrote. “One hopes that this great principle — essential to any free society, including ours — will not itself become yet another casualty of COVID-19.
Manke’s attorney, David Kallman, appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. And Manke has continued cutting hair.
On Friday, the Supreme Court vacated or revoked the orders from last week and sent the case back to the Michigan Court of Appeals for fuller consideration.
Viviano, a GOP-nominated justice, wrote the Court of Appeals had taken “the extraordinary step of directing the trial court to take immediate action despite the fact that an application for leave had already been filed in our Court.”
The three-member Court of Appeals panel’s majority decision for the immediate closure of Manke’s barbershop over Judge Brock Swartzle’s objection was “inexplicable,” Viviano said. The court also decided the matter without a full briefing, he wrote.
Manke said this week that his shop had been visited by two agents of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office. The barber said he told them they looked like they needed a haircut.