Friday on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom, network anchor Chris Wallace called Attorney General Bill Barr’s claim “legally suspect” that he could get the Justice Department involved in some governors’ “onerous” stay-at-home restrictions in response to the coronavirus.
Co-host Sandra Smith asked, “I want to bring in Bill Barr because there’s a lot of reaction to what he said on The Hugh Hewitt Show, talking about some of these restrictions, likening some of it to house arrest for American citizens, saying he is willing to further look into some of these restrictions. He said these are unprecedented burdens on civil liberties. The idea that you have to say in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest. I’m not saying it wasn’t justified or in some places, it might still be justified but it is very onerous as it is shutting down your livelihood. So what about him looking into possibly some of these restrictions and shutdowns, infringing on our federal constitutional rights?”
Wallace said, “I think it’s not going to happen. I think it’s talk on a talk radio show, and I wonder about the attorney general engaging in that kind of talk. It’s legally suspect because if you look at when the president talked about, ‘I have total authority to reopen the states,’ a lot of constitutional scholars on both the left and right noted that under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution the states have all the powers that are not specifically given to the federal government. This is not one that is given to the federal government, and states have police powers. They close things down for public safety all the time. So there is a real legal issue there, and it’s also a health issue. You look at what the president’s own guidelines say and they talk about a very specific, very gradual approach to reopening. That’s why governor Kemp in Georgia has run afoul. The idea that the attorney general of the United States is going to get involved with a lawsuit in an individual state that perhaps goes against the president’s guidelines and goes against the Tenth Amendment for the Constitution, I don’t see that happening.”
He added, “If it’s not safe, who can you rely on? I don’t think you can rely on the attorney general. I think you have to rely on your top health expert.”
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