On Monday, Attorney General William Barr took a significant step against state and local leaders who are using the COVID-19 outbreak to enact unconstitutional restrictions on their citizens. In a memo, he instructed federal prosecutors to identify coronavirus-related measures “that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”
The memo orders the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) head of its civil rights division and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern district of Michigan to monitor state and local restrictions and to take action where necessary, according to Newsmax. The document reads:
“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 order comes amid numerous reports of local and state law enforcement arresting or fining individuals for violating restrictions related to the Wuhan virus. Parents have been detained for playing with their children in parks even though they were observing social distancing practices. Some states and cities, like Austin, TX, are actively encouraging residents to snitch on their neighbors for failing to fully comply with the rules.
As states prepare to restart commerce, protesters have taken to the streets to oppose the continued shutdown orders that have restricted freedom and caused immense damage to the economy. President Donald Trump has expressed solidarity with those pushing back against the measures.
Last week, Barr gave an interview to radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in which he indicated that the DOJ might support legal action against states that continue to implement strict rules as the number of COVID-19 cases decreases. “The idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” he asserted. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”
While he acknowledged that in some cases, restrictions might be appropriate, he warned that there could be potential consequences if these measures persist for longer than is necessary. “I think we have to allow people to figure out ways of getting back to work and keep their workers and customers safe,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “I’m not suggesting we stop social distancing overnight. There may come a time where we have to worry less about that.”
Barr’s order is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Some states are preparing to reopen, and many left-leaning leaders seem to be trying to stretch these restrictions as far as they can despite the decline in coronavirus deaths. In many cases, they are imposing an unnecessary burden on Americans whose livelihoods are being threatened by stay-at-home orders.
Over 20 million people have filed for unemployment, and these rules have forced a significant number of small businesses to close. In light of the economic impact on everyday Americans, it seems appropriate that the DOJ would target those who are continually trying to impose on our freedoms.
Nevertheless, Democrats continue to insist that the public remains under shutdown orders, arguing that these restrictions will stop the spread of the Wuhan virus. However, the end result of their plan would be ruinous for the majority of Americans who need to work in order to feed their families.
It is for this reason that many have started pushing back against the shutdown orders. Progressives want to ensure that individuals depend on the government for their wellbeing, but Americans would rather use the free market to preserve their quality of life. Unfortunately for the left, the tide is slowly turning against them. It turns out most Americans are not too keen on the government having this much power after all.
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