Can lockdowns go too far?
Attorney General Bill Barr made it clear that the answer is yes.
Barr issued a warning Monday to state and local governments “not to infringe on fundamental freedoms and civil rights in their enforcement of coronavirus restrictions, specifically warning against religious discrimination.”
In a memo to sent to U.S. attorneys, Barr gave a stern admonition against “violating constitutional rights:”
I am directing each of our United States Attorneys to also be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.
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. The legal restrictions on state and local authority are not limited to discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.
Barr correctly recognized that the “Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis.” Barr then concluded, “We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected.”
To read the entire memo, click here.