Politico, on March 21st, published an article about how the Dept of Justice, headed by Attorney General William P Barr, wants to attach an article to the Coronavirus Relief effort to suspend Habeus Corpus.
“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” said Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.”
AG William Barr helped with such things as the Invasion of Panama in 1989, advised George Bush to pardon officials found guilty in the Iran-Contra Affair and wrote a document entitled The Case for More Incarceration, where he argued the United States should put more people in prison. He wrote the legal argument for the FBI to enter other countries without their permission. Also in 2019, Barr was held in criminal contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas; his Department declined to prosecute him. Imagine that.
That William Barr, he is sure one beautiful mf!
The implications of this request may have far reaching consequences. Suspending Habeus Corpus is not necessary. If the Department of Justice cannot perform in the current environment maybe it needs a new leader. Convincing people to give up freedoms in a time of crisis is a common strategy of totalitarian regimes.
A political maneuver like this serves to de-legitimize the administration’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis. The request will create distrust of the Presidency and the Federal Government in general. It feeds into anti-government hysteria. It’s sabotage. Mr Trump should revisit his reality show days where his catch phrase was “YOU’RE FIRED!”