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Tags: William Barr | lockdown | protest | DOJ | Constitution | First Amendment

Barr Defends Lockdown Protesters Citing First Amendment Rights

william barr in a suit and blue tie in the press briefing room
Attorney General William Barr (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2020 07:12 AM EDT

Attorney General William Barr is siding with some lockdown protesters citing First Amendment rights. But how much the DOJ will side with the masses while governments try to keep people from gathering in crowds may depend on their message.

In a two-page memo issued Monday, Barr said the DOJ will support lockdown protesters that are fighting for religious and economic rights.

He gave the 93 U.S. attorneys the OK to take action to correct any health restrictions that infringe on constitutional rights like the First Amendment. 

“We do not want to unduly interfere with the important efforts of state and local officials to protect the public,” Barr wrote. “But the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis.”

Barr’s memo calls out constitutional bars on discrimination against "religious institutions and religious believers" and "disfavored speech," as well as bans against "undue interference with the national economy."

In naming specific protesters, the DOJ will likely support religious groups and people looking to reopen the economy.

An American University law professor told The Hill that the Justice Department will likely play favorites with certain protesters.

“It’s extremely likely that the DOJ will play favorites,” Lindsay Wiley said. “I think it’s accurate to assume that DOJ will not intervene in a neutral way, but will instead intervene on behalf of plaintiffs asserting rights the administration favors.”

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Politics
Attorney General William Barr is siding with some lockdown protesters citing First Amendment rights. But how much the DOJ will side with the masses while governments try to keep people from gathering in crowds may depend on their message.In a two-page memo...
William Barr, lockdown, protest, DOJ, Constitution, First Amendment
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2020-12-01
Friday, 01 May 2020 07:12 AM
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