Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) made it her mission to target 77-year-old barber Karl Manke for defying her state’s overbearing shutdown orders, but her crusade was stopped in its tracks by a series of rulings over the weekend.
Not only did the Michigan Supreme Court side with Manke on Friday against the Whitmer administration’s attempts to fine him for “unlawfully” reopening, but Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart ordered Whitmer to stop attempting to compel him to “comply with a nonexistent injunction” on Monday.
Whitmer quietly lifted the state’s stay at home orders on June 1, but required the state’s barbershops and hairdressers to remain closed until June 15.
Manke opted to open his shop on the 1st, saying at the time that “I’m 77 years old. I mean, what are they going to give me? Life?” he asked. “I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I [couldn’t] care less.”
Whitmer kicked off the fight by stripping Manke of his license after he repeatedly refused to close his business in defiance of Whitmer’s executive orders. The action was upheld by a Michigan Court of Appeals.
He said after the appeals court ruling that “I’m still open, still working until they cut my hands off,” and the case went to the state’s Supreme Court, which struck down the ruling with a resounding 7-0 decision.
Then, Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel attempted to level a $7,500 daily fine against the Owosso barber, and Whitmer’s Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was also seeking a $5,000 penalty.
On Monday, Stewart ended Whitmer’s attacks on Manke for good, ruling that “It is no longer appropriate for Plaintiff to seek to compel Defendant to comply with a nonexistent injunction.”