April 28, 2020

Barr Sets DOJ Upon States Infringing on Civil Rights

The AG believes Americans’ freedoms are unduly restricted by some state and local authorities.

Last week, Attorney General William Barr voiced his growing concerns that some state and local governments’ actions in response to the China Virus pandemic may be infringing on Americans’ constitutionally protected civil liberties. On Monday, Barr acted on those concerns, sending a two-page memo to 93 U.S. attorneys instructing them to “be on the lookout” for any state or local authorities who may have overstepped their authority in issuing COVID-19 restrictions. “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,” Barr wrote, “the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.”

Barr specifically noted the infringement upon First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of religion: “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.” Barr added, “The Constitution also forbids, in certain circumstances, discrimination against disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy.”

While Barr acknowledge that certain “restrictions have been necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease,” he also noted “there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans.” And he cogently concluded, “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. We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected.”

Barr tapped Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider to lead the effort to “monitor state and local policies and, if necessary, take action to correct them.” This is a welcome and needed development as several state governors and local authorities have clearly exceeded their authority and have stepped all over their constituents’ constitutionally protected rights.

In fact, just yesterday, a judge in southern Illinois ruled that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s particularly onerous stay-at-home order violated individual civil rights and exceeded the authority of his office. Predictably, the Democrat governor arrogantly asserted that the ruling was “dangerous and people’s safety and health have now been put at risk.” Pitzker also attacked Rep. Darren Bailey, a Republican who brought the lawsuit against the governor, claiming that Bailey was “blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity.” It’s telling that Pitzker’s authoritarian instincts allow him to so flippantly dismiss and smear concern over constitutional fidelity as merely a foolish expression of blind devotion. If it wasn’t for the Founders’ “blind devotion” to Liberty, there would be no Constitution, Bill of Rights, or United States.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Join us in prayer for our nation, that good and righteous leaders would rise and prevail, and that division would be healed so we can be united as Americans. We pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans and First Responders, and for their families.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.