“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest. 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. So these are very, very burdensome impingements on liberty, and we adopted them, we have to remember, for the limited purpose of slowing down the spread, that is bending the curve. … And we are now seeing that these are bending the curve, and now we have to come up with more targeted approaches.”
(Ronn Blitzer – Fox News) Attorney General Bill Barr took a clear swipe Tuesday at state restrictions on citizens during the coronavirus pandemic, indicating not only that people could sue over measures that go too far but that the Justice Department could end up siding with them against the states.
In an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Barr specified some of the legal issues raised by state orders – likening some to “house arrest” – and how they could lead the federal government to get involved.
“Our federal constitutional rights don’t go away in an emergency. They constrain what the government can do,” Barr said in the Tuesday interview. “And in a circumstance like this, they put on the government the burden to make sure that whatever burdens it’s putting on our constitutional liberties are strictly necessary to deal with the problem. They have to be targeted. They have to use less intrusive means if they are equally effective in dealing with the problem. And that’s the situation we’re in today. We’re moving into a period where we have to do a better job of targeting the measures we’re deploying to deal with this virus.”
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