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Michigan Supreme Court sides with barber who defied coronavirus shutdown

A 77-year-old Michigan barber won a legal battle with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her coronavirus shutdown orders — in a stinging unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court.

“It is incumbent on the courts to ensure decisions are made according to the rule of law, not hysteria,” Justice David F. Viviano wrote Friday, MLive.com reported.

The court’s 7-0 decision vacated a lower court’s order upholding the state’s attempt to shutter the barbershop owned and operated by Karl Manke in Owosso, Mich.

Manke reopened his shop May 4 in defiance of Whitmer’s orders keeping salons closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Either Jesus comes, they cut my hands off or she resigns, one or the other,” he said Wednesday.

Manke has argued that he has a right to work — and kept cutting customers’ hair as the legal fight raged. He has racked up thousands of dollars in fines, and the state has rescinded his licenses.

The ruling returns the case to the appeals court for a full hearing scheduled for Thursday. But the case will soon be moot: under Whitmer’s orders, barbershops will be permitted to reopen fully on June 15.


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