Is Trump Trying To Use The Coronavirus Crisis To Suspend Certain Constitution Rights?
Trump’s Department of Justice has asked Congress to draft legislation that will allow chief judges to detain people indefinitely during times emergencies, like coronavirus, according to a report by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan.
Political analyst believes the request from the DOJ will not pass with a Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, however, others are concerned that it points to an abuse of power during a time of vulnerability and distress. The Constitution grants citizens.
The DOJ has requested Congress allow any chief judge of a 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 DOJ has requested Congress allow any chief judge of a 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,” according to draft language obtained by Politico. This would be applicable 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 processes and proceedings.” They justify this by saying currently judges can pause judicial proceedings in an emergency but that new legislation would allow them to apply it “in a consistent manner.”
But the Constitution grants citizens habeas corpus – the right to appear before a judge after the arrest and seek release.
“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” Norman L. Reimer, the executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers told Politico. “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.”
“That is something that should not happen in a democracy,” he added.
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