A Michigan judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republican leaders of the state's Legislature challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's use of emergency powers to extend Michigan's state of emergency.

Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens ruled that while Whitmer's action of re-declaring the same emergency violated the provisions of the state's Emergency Management Act, the Legislature's challenges to Whitmer's use of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act to issue executive orders are meritless.

According to the judge's order, the Legislature's motion for immediate declaratory judgment has been denied and the case has been closed.

The ruling stands in stark contrast to a decision by the courts in one of the Great Lakes State's neighbors. Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled last week that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order was "unlawful" and "unenforceable," leading that state to be fully reopened. Michigan, meanwhile, has had some of the strictest social distancing measures put in place across the country and Whitmer has moved slowly in reopening the state.

Republican leaders of the Michigan state House and Senate had filed the lawsuit against the governor earlier this month, alleging Whitmer's extension of the state of emergency had been unlawful and went against the Michigan Constitution.

Along with their complaint, the leaders filed a motion for immediate declaratory judgment, arguing that "no statute or constitutional provision empowers the Governor to declare a statewide, indefinite state of emergency and then rely on that declaration to exercise unfettered lawmaking authority."

But that argument was rejected by Stephens, who wrote Thursday that "through two distinct acts, stated in plain and certain terms, the Legislature has granted the governor broad but focused authority to respond to emergencies that affect the state and its people."

Whitmer's office said in a statement after the ruling that the decision "recognizes that the Governor's actions to save lives are lawful and her orders remain in place."

"She will continue to do what she's always done: take careful, decisive actions to protect Michiganders from this unprecedented, global pandemic. We owe it to our front line heroes who have been putting their lives on the line to pull together as a state and work as one team to stop the spread of this virus."

Still, Gideon D'Assandro, a spokesman for Republican Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, noted that the court did rule that Whitmer had -- in part -- broken the law.

"Although it kept the Governor's emergency orders in place, the Court of Claims agreed with the Legislature that the Governor broke the law in unilaterally declaring a state of emergency without legislative consent," D'Assandro said in a statement. "The Speaker is reviewing the ruling in detail but he expects to continue standing up for the rule of law."

Thursday's ruling comes as the Democratic governor continues to hold steady on slowly reopening the state amid growing calls to relax social distancing measures and jump-start Michigan's economy. Whitmer has faced repeated demonstrations against her closure orders, including at her home.

Last month, protesters carrying firearms descended on Michigan's Capitol to pressure the governor to issue more relaxed measures. But Whitmer has been outspoken in her belief that the country must listen to medical professionals.

Earlier this month she unveiled a six-phase plan that she touted as critical to avoiding a second wave of infections.

"We have to reengage like a dial, not a switch that goes on or off, but a dial that we can turn," she said.

This story has been updated with additional information Thursday.

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