If it wasn’t the usurper Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Sobarkah signing the NDAA with its unconstitutional indefinite detention language, and carried over into the Trump administration, it’s the current administration’s latest request to violate the Constitution on top of unconstitutional declarations of a state of emergency. But then again, it seems no one cares about the Constitution anymore.
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States.
Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted. POLITICO also reviewed and previously reported on documents seeking the authority to extend deadlines on merger reviews and prosecutions.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the documents.
The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak.
The DOJ requests — which are unlikely to make it through a Democratic-led House — span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated
In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”
The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.”
The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus –– the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release.
“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” said Norman L. Reimer, the 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.”
When provision for video conferencing were put into the document they were called into question.
“Video teleconferencing may be used to conduct an appearance under this rule,” read a draft of potential new language for Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 5(f), crossing out the phrase “if the defendant consents.”
“Video teleconferencing may be used to arraign a defendant,” read draft text of rule 10(c), again striking out the phrase “if the defendant consents.”
But what is the defendant doesn’t consent? Well, tough luck!
“If it were with the consent of the accused person it would be fine,” Reimer said. “But if it’s not with the consent of the accused person, it’s a terrible road to go down. We have a right to public trials. People have a right to be present in court.”
And while I have no love for AOC’s worldview, the unconfirmed report prompted Doug Stafford, the chief strategist for Rand Paul to tweet his agreement with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who criticized such a measure.
— Doug Stafford (@dougstafford) March 21, 2020
They aren’t the only ones.
Senator Mike Lee tweeted “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
OVER MY DEAD BODY https://t.co/B8BRbvRDDa
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 21, 2020
Rep. Earl Blumenauer tweeted, “This is wrong and must not be allowed to happen.”
This is wrong and must not be allowed to happen.https://t.co/yclFlr6WAN
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) March 21, 2020
Rep. Justin Amash tweeted, “Congress must loudly reply NO.”
Congress must loudly reply NO.
“The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies.” https://t.co/B0TL8y6Sbh
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 21, 2020
Arizona state Sen. Martín Quezada tweeted, “That would be a hard no.”
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) March 21, 2020
The more this hysteria and overreaction of government to something that appears to infect and kill far less than the annual flu, the more the government will seek to usurp its authority and engage in more tyranny, all in the name of public safety and national security while doing the very things that impact both.
People’s liberties have already been under attack in this country for some time.
As I’ve pointed out, executive orders remain in place, many of which are unconstitutional that are a threat to the people’s liberty and security.
FEMA, FEMA Camps, Martial Law & The Unconstitutional Executive Orders That Are In Place That Threaten The Liberty Of Every Citizen Of The US
Just remember, President Trump has already expressed he would rather act first and then provide people due process.
That was on the issue of the right to keep and bear arms. This is regarding an “invisible enemy.”
Bill Barr is also in support of unconstitutional red flag laws, unconstitutional asset forfeiture and seeks to prosecute people like Julian Assange for exposing the crimes of our government. Now, it appears, they want to limit due process over an alleged virus.
Our Constitution does not allow that!
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