Throughout this crisis, numerous states have passed extreme lockdown measures. Recently, Attorney General Barr has gone to bat for Americans whose Constitutional rights suffered. He even talked about confronting states that are using the lockdowns to abuse our freedoms. Now, he’s going even further, directing his prosecutors to do this.
Let’s start with some good news: numerous states are rolling out plans to end their lockdowns and reopen the economy. As it’s becoming clearer that the disease can be contained, Americans are able to get back to work. But not in states like Michigan, California, or New York. Democrat-controlled blue states are doubling-down on their strict rules.
It appears Attorney General Barr has had enough. He intervened when a Mississippi church was fined by their city. He even issued guidance about how the DOJ would back citizens who sue their communities for infringing on their rights. Recently, he discussed how he felt the lockdowns have gone too far and are threatening our liberties.
Now, he’s moving forward to combat the most abusive cases.
Attorney General William Barr on Monday ordered federal prosecutors across the U.S. to identify coronavirus-related restrictions from state and local governments “that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”
The memo to U.S. attorneys directs the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan to coordinate the department’s efforts to monitor state and local policies and take action if needed.
“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.” [Source: Fox News]
That’s what we want to see. Americans across the country have gone as far as to protest the tyrannical limits set by their local leaders. Why should some businesses stay open, taking precautions, while others are shut down? People can go to the grocery store or liquor store, but not church? We can all crowd gas station stores, but not spread out at restaurants?
And that’s just a tip of the iceberg. People have been arrested for visiting the private homes of family members. Others have been punished for going to their vacation homes. Americans have not been allowed to cross state lines. Neighbors are ratting out neighbors for going into their backyards.
Barr’s threat of taking legal action must be more than just words. Lawsuits are actually needed to set limits on what governors and mayors can do during a crisis. We never faced a situation like this before: where leaders took it upon themselves to shut down businesses and force Americans into their homes.
We have to ask the question: do they really have the authority to do that? I know plenty of Americans right now are screaming, “No.” But it will take the work of the judicial branch to decide that. Our laws do not give leaders the power to strip us of our rights. Rulings from federal judges—perhaps even the Supreme Court—can set limits on what governors and mayors will be able to do in the future.
That is crucial. The fear of this disease in March led Americans to gladly accept rules that hammered their rights. They seemed to have no problem with executive orders that flew in the face of our Constitutional liberties. That can’t happen again. A virus is no excuse for governors to act like dictators. We know the threat of the disease. We can take the right measures and still live our lives.
Nobody has the power to take that away from us.
Hopefully, Bill Barr will use this as an opportunity to define leaders’ limits in court. Otherwise, you better believe some governors will do this again—for reasons much less severe.