Embattled Michigan Barber Still Cutting Hair, Despite Appeals Court Order To Close

(WWJ) The legal battle between the governor and a Michigan barber may be on its way to the state Supreme Court.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel on Thursday ruled that Karl Manke must "immediately cease" cutting hair, overturning a decision by a Shiawassee County judge who'd sided with the barber. 

The 8-page order also said the court must enter a preliminary injunction ordering Manke to immediately cease all operations at his Owosso, Michigan shop.

((View a copy of the order))

The ruling comes after Michigan's chief medical officer testified against Manke, who has refused to keep his shop closed in compliance with the state's coronavirus restrictions.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said during a hearing Wednesday that Manke's shop is an "imminent threat" to public health due to a risk of spreading the virus.

Manke reopened on May 4 in defiance of state restrictions, saying he needs to make money, and the "government is not my mother."

Manke told WWJ's Jon Hewett that so far he's seen "no guns, no cops, no warrants" and he intends to keep cutting hair no matter what the courts say.

Manke was open for business on Thursday.

"I'm 77 years old, 78 pretty soon. You know, I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel — I could care less," Manke said. "I mean, what the heck are they gonna do? Are they gonna live me life or what?"

"This is the ridiculous part of all of that," he added, "that I should somehow or another be intimidated." 

Manke's attorney David Kallman told WWJ he believes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer executive orders are invalid without legislative approval, something state Republicans have also sought to prove in court. 

Kallman is challenging the suspension of both Manke's business and barber's licenses.

"I there were no executive orders, there would be no licensing action, there would be no abatement order, there would be nothing that they could do him (for) opening his barber shop," Kallman said. "So that's the big fight." 

Kallman said he will file a final appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court no later than this Friday.