Michigan Barber Has License Suspended.

A few days ago, we wrote about 77 year old Karl Manke, a barber in Owosso, Michigan who after being denied unemployment three times, decided he had to reopen his barber shop to make a living.

For him, there was no other option.

Police issued two citations which will be heard on June 23 in a Michigan Court.

Still refusing to stop cutting hair and close his shop, the State of Michigan sought an immediate “cease and desist order” from Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart. Stewart refused to grant the order, saying he wanted to hold a hearing where both sides could present evidence and make arguments for their position.

That did not please the State of Michigan.

Without any hearing or ability to appeal, the State of Michigan suspended Manke’s license.

LANSING — An Owosso barber who reopened his shop and refused to close despite state shutdown orders has temporarily lost his license.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs [LARA] summarily suspended Karl Manke’s barber license, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.


The state’s decision to summarily suspend Manke’s license was simply their way of acting when Stewart wouldn’t, [Manke’s attorney David] Kallman said.

“I think it’s totally vindictive,” he said. “It’s petty, it’s totally in retribution because they didn’t like the court order from earlier this week.


A complaint should have been filed first, rather than moving to suspend his license, Kallman said. A complaint would allow for a trial and witnesses, he said, which would allow for all relevant voices to be heard, he said. Manke has yet to appear in court.

[Michigan Attorney General Dana] Nessel commended LARA’s actions to suspend Manke’s license Wednesday, saying it was “absolutely the right move.”

“I 100% support them,” Nessel said. “I really hope people will look a little deeper and understand the state’s motivation when it comes to this particular issue.”

We think that when people look a little deeper into the issue, they will find that the State of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Attorney General Dana Nessel got their feelings hurt when Manke defied them, and a judge would not go along with their demands to shut Manke down.

But here’s the kicker:

Closing down barber shops is not why she ran to be attorney general, Nessel said, but during a global pandemic that has killed thousands of Michiganders, it must be done.

She pointed to the actions of Manke and others in the barber shop. Some were wearing masks, but many others weren’t.

When Manke is within inches of someone who is not wearing a mask — even if he’s wearing one himself — it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe he could become infected with COVID-19 and spread it the people who came to him for haircuts, Nessel said.

“This is a serious health concern. All we want to do is protect people’s lives,” Nessel said. “That’s our only motivation behind wanting to shut down Mr. Manke’s business.” (emphasis ours)

Laws and regulations when it comes to licensing are based upon facts and science. There is a scientific reason why barbers and stylists keep the tools of their trade in alcohol as to not infect someone else if that person were accidentally cut while having their hair cut.

It’s science.

Yet Nessel is saying that “it is not stretch,” which is a long way from fact based science.

There is also the little issue of “due process” that was not afforded Manke to answer the allegations against him before his license was suspended.

In fact, according to his lawyer, no complaints were filed to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – not even from state regulators themselves.

A couple of phone calls, a back room deal behind closed doors and boom.

Suspend the man’s license.

It seems wrong to us that the State of Michigan can defy its own laws and regulations, to say nothing of the Constitution in taking a man’s right to make a living away from him, while at the same time demanding that 77 year old Manke comply with executive orders from Governor Whitmer.

“Do as I say and not as I do,” doesn’t begin to cover this mess in Michigan.

We fear it will be getting worse.

2 Responses to “Michigan Barber Has License Suspended.”

  1. Lola says:

    This is outrageous! I heard him in a live radio interview today and couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Whitmer is a fascist, plain & simple.

    • AAfterwit says:


      Thanks for the comment.

      There is little doubt that legally, executives of states may implement measures to help stop or limit the spread of an epidemic.

      Hwat courts across the country are looking at and rejecting is the idea that whatever the Executives want is law without any regard to rights. Courts have tried to make a balancing act between the rights of individuals and the rights of others not to be put in jeopardy by the actions of people.

      Whitmore went way past that line long ago.

      Whitmore and the State of Michigan’s spat with a 77 year old barber and the suspension of his license. It is not about science as the rate of COVID-19 in his town and surrounding county is incredibly low.

      This is about one old man who dared defy the illogical and arguably illegal orders (because of their over-reach.) Period.

      As we stated, in the suspension of a professional license in Michigan, there has to be a complaint. There was none. There has to be a hearing – or at least the scheduling of a hearing. There was none. The revocation must be based on a violation of the professional standards of conduct. This was not. The state cannot point to how Manke is violating the professional standards of being a barber.

      If the state wants to argue that he violated an executive order, go to court and make that case.

      Whitmore and the Government of Michigan seem to be saying that the laws are for the little people and that things like laws and due process don’t apply to them.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

  2. […] Of course, Whitmer may just try to suspend the medical licenses of any medical personnel who participate in the surgeries. Its not like she hasn’t done that before to people who people who went against her overly broad orders. […]

  3. […] to obtain a cease and desist order against Manke was not granted, without any sort of due process, the Michigan government suspended Manke’s professional license. Manke responded with action basically saying, “I […]