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Attorney General Barr Warns Public Officials  the”Constitution Isn’t Suspended” for COVID-19

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, “Constitution Isn’t Suspended” for COVID-19, Attorney General Barr Warns Public Officials. According to US Attorney General Bill Barr, some states might be in for more than just a slap on the wrist for their over-reaching policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.  US Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday issued a 2-page memo ordering US Attorneys to be on the ‘lookout’ for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the memo, Barr wrote:

“For example, the Constitution also forbids, in certain circumstances, discrimination against disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy.

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’s memo is, in effect, a warning order to his 94 U.S. attorneys. It tells them to “be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”

In releasing the memo to the public, Barr reminded all of us that the coronavirus “has required the imposition of extraordinary restrictions on all of our daily lives.”  That’s certainly true, as millions of Americans “have been ordered to stay in their homes, leaving only for essential and necessary reasons, while countless businesses and other gathering places have been ordered to close their doors indefinitely.”

Those restraints on liberty have “been necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease.”  But Barr acknowledges that those restraints have also “imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans.”

Barr’s memo is directed, in large part, at restrictions that impact our rights under the First Amendment. He reminded states and localities that they have to be mindful when crafting temporary rules to fight COVID-19 and that “the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.”

In the memo, Barr also wrote:

“As the Department of Justice explained recently in guidance to states and localities taking steps to battle the pandemic, even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.”

https://www.justice.gov/opa/page/file/1271456/download

 

One thought on “Attorney General Barr Warns Public Officials  the”Constitution Isn’t Suspended” for COVID-19

  1. So very true so many new laws have been written in the past six weeks regarding this coronavirus. And thank God it’s for the workers. It’s called protection act.

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