On Monday Attorney General William Barr addressed the restrictions imposed by state and local governments across the US that might go too far by ordering federal prosecutors to oversee the policies and intervene if they violate constitutional rights. “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 said in a memo.
Barr reminded in his address that Constitution is not suspended during the time of crisis and it is important to “be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected.” He appointed Eric Dreidband, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan to monitor state and local policies. Federal prosecutors are directed to intervene and correct policies if necessary. “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,” Barr concluded.
President Trump later confirmed these efforts during his press conference. He explained that Barr wants people to go back to work and not have their rights taken away, according to NBC News. “The fact that people aren’t allowed to have their freedom causes tremendous amounts of problems, including death, so that’s what he’s talking about,” Trump added.