As a field organizer working for NextGen North Carolina, I’m working to register young people to vote and mobilize them to get to the the polls in November. If there’s one thing I know from my peers, it is that we are fed up with politicians who seek to concentrate their power at the expense of the public interest. To this end, I would like to draw your attention to the recent actions of Attorney General William Barr.
Shrouded by the news frenzy surrounding COVID-19, Attorney General Barr has asked Congress to expand the powers of the Department of Justice during this crisis. Among the requests is one that would grant judges the power to detain people indefinitely and suspend court proceedings in a time of emergency. This power would mean that someone could be arrested and detained indefinitely without the right to an attorney or due process so long as a local declared emergency is in effect. This power would functionally wipe out not only the constitutional rights of due process and habeas corpus, but also the right to protest and peaceably assemble. Practically this measure would allow protesters, or really anyone charged with a crime, however minor, to be detained without access to a lawyer; and indefinitely during any locally declared emergency. This move has drawn fierce bipartisan criticism, and will likely not pass the House of Representatives. This is however, a flagrant effort to subvert the Constitution of the United States.
I urge you to post about this on your social media, to write to your local, state, and federal elected officials and urge them to condemn Barr’s actions. Whatever your personal beliefs or political party, the Constitution protects us all. Without it we have no safeguards against autocratic rule.