Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday evening “other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint,” coronavirus lockdowns were the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”
Barr’s comments came during a Constitution Day celebration at Hillsdale College, commemorating the date in 1789 when the Constitution was signed by the Framers in Philadelphia.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Barr has expressed alarm at the restrictions imposed by state authorities on First Amendment rights, particularly the freedom of religion.
In April, Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys to “be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”
He explained that while there might be “reasonable and temporary restrictions” on some First Amendment rights for the sake of public health, they should not become an “overbearing infringement.”
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division subsequently