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A renowned constitutional attorney who represented some of the Covington Catholic High School students in their suits against the media last year has filed what appears to be a class-action civil rights suit against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Speaking this Saturday evening on Fox News’ “Watters World,” attorney Robert Barnes explained that the governor’s violations of basic liberties cannot be allowed to stand and revealed that more suits against other governors are pending.
“There’s no emergency exception to the Bill of Rights,” he said. “The 14th amendment requires that the governor respect the first, second, fourth, fifth amendment rights of the people of Michigan, and she’s not done so. So President Trump is right: It’s time to liberate Michigan from the governor who would call herself queen, who effectively has decided to quarantine the Constitution instead of quarantining the virus.”
“So we have brought suit on behalf of people whose right to peacefully assemble, whose rights of their business and their profession and their occupation has been stripped of them without due process of law, and their property taken away without just compensation as is required under the first and fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Listen below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
(Source: Fox News)
He was right.
In a monologue earlier that evening, Fox News host Jesse Watters used direct quotes from the U.S. Constitution to show that while governors possess certain enforcement powers, they’re “required to make sure these restrictions aren’t overly broad.”
The problem is that “many Americans [now] believe some of these governors are going way overboard,” and the evidence proving this assertion true is legion.
“Philadelphia man physically dragged off of a bus just for not wearing a mask. Guy in Colorado, he got put in handcuffs for having a catch in a park with his daughter. Police have been handing out fines for drive-through churchgoers — people just sitting in their cars listening to the pastor preach on the megaphone,” Watters explained.
Meanwhile in Michigan, Whitmer “has told citizens they can’t leave the city and stay in their summer homes, said they can’t go out on a boat, on a lake or they can’t buy seeds to grow their own food.”
When pressed by Watters later in the program, Barnes cautioned that he doesn’t oppose the general idea of a coronavirus lockdown and quarantine but rather Whitmer’s particularly totalitarian version of it. Though she’s not alone in her authoritarianism.
“The Michigan governor went way overboard,” he explained. “There were some sincere efforts by many governors in places like Tennessee and Texas and some other locations to say if you’re exercising your constitutional rights, that is by definition essential activity. So if it’s core constitutional liberty, it has to be essential activity exempt from any shutdown order.”
“Unfortunately, the governor of Michigan, like some other governors in Virginia — we’re going to be filing suit in other places too — went way beyond that. She banned people from buying seeds, buying flags, going out to the park, you name it. It’s insane.”
She technically forced large retailers to stop selling products such as seeds and flags. But since most Americans obtain their goods from such retailers — think Walmart — many have justifiably labeled the rule an outright ban.
Michigan can not buy any home improvement non essentials or even vegetable seeds & gardening supplies as of this morning! 😡 No lawn care either! @POTUS @GovWhitmer #michiganlockdown pic.twitter.com/9VDvjMKJEe
— KM17⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@crusaders2225) April 10, 2020
— Michael (@truthdetector15) April 12, 2020
American Flags reportedly have been deemed “non-essential” in Michigan.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 12, 2020
Of course, she’s not alone.
As noted by Watters, other lawmakers (some on the local level, others on the state level) have been rushing to outdo one another by banning drive-in church services, banning short-term property rentals, banning alcohol sales, etc.
It’s even happened in Barnes’ hometown.
“In my hometown, we ended up bringing suit against the mayor of Chattanooga because on Easter Sunday, he told all the pastors that if they went ahead with their drive-in church services, he would use all of his power to punish them by any means possible,” he said.
It makes no sense, he added, that given in his hometown it’s still perfectly acceptable to “drive in to get a lottery ticket” or “drive in to get a liquor bottle.”
“But you can’t drive in to pray, you can’t drive-in to see your fellow parishioners, many of whom the only mechanism or means they had to do fellowship was that method because they either have limitations on social media access or other methods of doing church service,” Barnes added.
“This is a violation of the First Amendment right that prohibits governments from restraining or restricting religious expression in any way, particularly when they’re allowing the same form of expression for things like buying lottery tickets or liquor bottles.”
A similar policy exists in Michigan, where Whitmer is allowing residents to purchase luxuries such as marijuana, alcohol and lottery tickets yet virtually prohibiting them from purchasing goods such as furniture and garden seeds.
Following his appearance on FNC, Barnes posted the following tweet:
Word got back to a certain politician about my appearance tonight about a lawsuit being filed against him, as discussed tonight on @JesseBWatters show @WattersWorld, and it appears he is going to reverse his policies right away to protect First Amendment rights in his city.
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) April 18, 2020
It’s not clear which “certain politician” he’d referenced.
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