There is a point at which typically reasonable, law-abiding people come to realize that an unjust law is no law at all and decide to no longer comply.
For Amy Heikkinen and her brother Jake, restaurateurs in tiny Calumet, Michigan, that time has come. According to their GoFundMe page, their coffee and pastry shop survived Governor Gretchen Whitmer's first lockdown order, which Michigan's Supreme Court struck down this past summer as executive overreach. In retaliation, Whitmer has essentially commandeered the administrative state, using Michigan's Health Department to enforce her mid-November ban on indoor dining.
This time, however, Amy and Jake had reached their breaking point and have been ignoring the order. Incensed at the disobedience, Whitmer's administrative brownshirts went to court for a restraining order. And, as the Detroit News reports, they won last week in Ingham County Circuit Court — hundreds of miles south of Calumet.
"There are thousands of Michigan restaurants, bars and businesses trying to do right by their communities and fellow business owners, but their sacrifices must not be undermined because others ignore the law and make up their own rule book during a pandemic," said Gary McDowell, a director for Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The café is ordered to appear before Stokes next Thursday.
"It's my right to earn an income to protect and feed my family," [Heikkinen] said. "That's the right of every American. You can't make me not work."
Heikkinen said the restaurant has the support of local officials, a factor she thinks pushed the state to file its complaint in Ingham County instead of Houghton County.
"That's why this is so absolutely ridiculous because it's an eight-hour drive from the county where this judge issued this so-called order," she said.
The Heikkinens are raising money to offset the legal battle.
Whitmer's war against COVID has always been long on tyranny and short on facts. This has led residents to question not only her actions, but the entire administrative state. When New York published its results on contract tracing, it showed households and "social gatherings" as the leading "exposure sources" with an almost 74% share. Restaurants and bars have a measly 1.43%.
This data argue for an enterprising law firm to begin foraging state tort cases for arguments and precedents for damages.