William Barr: U.S. Attorneys Should Sue States with Coronavirus Orders Violating Civil Liberties
Attorney General William P. Barr gave the order on Monday for U.S. attorneys to sue governors whose behavior at the state-level is believed to infringe upon the civil liberties of American citizens.
“If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court,” Barr wrote in his memo addressed to all U. S. Attorneys.
Barr is putting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider in charge of the oversight over state and local policies. They will coordinate with different federal bureaus as well as state and local officials to mitigate ongoing damage to Constitutional rights and the rule of law caused by different lockdown policies across the nation.
“Many policies that would be unthinkable in regular times have become commonplace in recent weeks, and we do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public. But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis,” Barr wrote.
“We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected,” he added.
Barr noted in a radio interview last week that he was acutely aware of the constitutional violations occurring at the state level as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“When you’re faced with a potential catastrophe,” Barr said to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, “the government can deploy measures and even put temporary and reasonable restrictions on rights if really necessary to meet the danger. But it still has the obligation to adapt to the circumstances. Whatever powers the government has, whether it be the president or the state governor, still is bounded by constitutional rights of the individual. Our federal constitutional rights don’t go away in an emergency. They constrain what the government can do.”
“And in a circumstance like this, they put on the government the burden to make sure that whatever burdens it’s putting on our constitutional liberties are strictly necessary to deal with the problem. They have to be targeted. They have to use less intrusive means if they are equally effective in dealing with the problem. And that’s the situation we’re in today. We’re moving into a period where we have to do a better job of targeting the measures we’re deploying to deal with this virus,” he added.
Barr noted that while he has allowed states the ability to act with latitude in the early stages of the crisis, the feds would be looking to make sure that these emergency measures do not become permanent infringements upon the freedom of Americans.
“When a crisis hits, I think the government needs a little bit of latitude to adopt the means to deal with it. But those can frequently be blunt instruments, and over time, I think the government has the burden of tailoring its measures to make sure they are not unduly intruding on civil liberties. And that’s the question that’s being presented today in our country, which is the extent to which government has to tailor its approach more to the circumstances on the ground and not do undue damage or broad deprivations of civil liberties,” he said.
“We have to give businesses more freedom to operate in a way that’s reasonably safe. They know their business. They have the capacity to figure out…how to conduct their business in a way that’s safe. I think we have to give businesses that opportunity,” he added.
The feds will not allow eager Democrat governors, such as Ralph “Blackface” Northam of Virginia and Gretchen “Hillary 2.0” Whitmer of Michigan, to exploit this crisis to destroy the Bill of Rights and Constitution. The AG is doing what few in the federal swamp are willing to do and actually living up to his oath of office.