Attorney General William Barr announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in lawsuits against states over coronavirus lockdowns that infringed on people’s rights.
Barr said Tuesday that the federal government would be reviewing lawsuits filed against states over their coronavirus regulations to determine whether each is warranted or not. In certain cases, the Justice Department may file a brief supporting a lawsuit alleging that the state had violated someone’s rights unjustly while combatting the pathogen.
“If people bring those lawsuits, we’ll take a look at it at that time,” Barr told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in the Tuesday interview. “If we think it’s, you know, justified, we would take a position. That’s what we’re doing now.”
“We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place, and if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs,” the attorney general continued.
Governors are currently drawing up plans for when and how their states will re-open. The Justice Department will likely give governors some time to adapt before weighing in on individual lawsuits.
While some states have done a good job of maintaining constitutional freedoms while taking necessary health precautions, some governors have let the power get to their heads, turning them into autocratic dictators of sort.
Mass Protests have broken out across several states such as California, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania over the state’s overly restrictive lockdown measures.
The lockdown orders have contributed to nearly 22 million applications for unemployment insurance filed in the past month, representing the massive toll the virus has taken on the U.S. economy.
President Trump on Tuesday furthered his defense of protestors who have showed up at state capitols and governors mansions demanding that they be able to return to work.
“They want to get back to work,” Trump told reporters during his daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “They have to take care of their families. They don’t want to do this.”
“People… they need money. They need help,” Trump said. “And we can’t break our country over this.”
Trump gave protesters in three states a boost over the weekend when he tweeted out in support of them.
“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA,” the president said in three separate tweets.
President Trump Tuesday said that he wants to see the governors – more in tune with their states current environment – handling the individual re-openings.
“The governors, I want them to do it. If we see they are doing something we don’t like, we’ll stop it very quickly,” he added. “Some of the governors frankly, they’re in a position where they can do it sooner or they can do it a little bit later.”
Barr further warned the damage that the U.S. response to the pandemic was doing to Americans’ livelihoods was beginning to surpass the damage done by the virus itself.
“These are unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now. You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said. “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.”
Some states – Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina – have already committed to allowing certain businesses to resume operations.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Monday to allow some businesses to immediately reopen.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will allow certain establishments – including hair and nail salons where social distancing is all but impossible – to open Friday. Restaurants in the state can resume dine-in services beginning Monday.