The policy response to the covid panic of 2020 in the United States was one of the most widespread direct attacks on fundamental human rights in decades. Overnight—and without any deliberation, debate, or checks and balances—millions of Americans were denied their basic rights to seek employment, to freely assemble, and to engage in religious practices.
Business and churches were closed, and countless Americans were ordered to stay in their homes and abandon their sources of income.
This was all done with no legal process other than the issuance of edicts from a tiny handful of politicians, usually executives such as state governors and city mayors.
Those who pressed for lockdowns and the effective confiscation of property—for that’s what a forced business closure actually is—denied that any sort of due process or “checks and balances” were necessary.
Rather, the lockdown advocates insisted that the public instead embrace unreservedly the “recommendations” of experts in government offices, who insisted that coerced lockdowns and business closures were the only reasonable response to the assumed threat of covid-19. Were one to suggest in mixed company that businesses ought to be afforded a hearing before being forcibly closed—or that an individual ought to receive some sort of due process before being deemed a “nonessential” worker—this was likely to elicit scoffing and contempt.
There’s no room for due process anymore, the official narrative tells us.
This new turn toward obedience to expert-fueled executive power didn’t appear from nowhere. Rather it is, in part, a manifestation of a long ideological process that has gradually replaced respect for legal checks and balances and due process with a deference to scientific experts. These experts, it is alleged, must not be subject to the slow and inefficient process of legal constraints on state power.
The White House announced today that President Biden will nominate Catherine Lhamon to serve as the Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights — the same position from which she oversaw efforts to undermine the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct during the Obama administration.
Under Lhamon’s leadership, the Office for Civil Rights enforced guidance that gutted due process protections and violated the First Amendment. Lhamon used that guidance to pressure institutions to restrict constitutionally protected speech and disregard basic procedural protections in campus disciplinary hearings.
By putting forward Lhamon for this crucial role, President Biden has signaled that he would rather colleges go back to old, failed policies — policies that have earned rebukes from dozens and dozens of courts to date — than pursue Title IX policies that take the rights of all students into account.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced S.292 — Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2021, and he has garnered support from the gun-grabbing Democrats and Republicans alike. On Wednesday, this latest Red Flag gun confiscation bill, gets a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes notorious gun grabbers like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Unlike red flag legislation on which TFTP has reported in the past which involve state laws, S.292 will apply to all states and Indian Tribes. Under the guise of a “grant program” the bill will bribe states to enact the most comprehensive red flag law we’ve ever seen.
The Assistant Attorney General shall make grants to an eligible State or Indian Tribe to assist the State or Indian Tribe in carrying out the provisions of a qualifying State or Tribal law.
S.292 is described as a bill:
To provide family members of an individual who they fear is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or law enforcement, with new tools to prevent gun violence.
However, as the Free Thought Project has reported in the past, these “tools” have failed repeatedly and pave the way for rampant abuse. Naturally, the “fact checkers” have already taken to defending the bill, claiming that it doesn’t remove due process.
However, citizens who are targeted by these laws will be deemed guilty first, and only after their guns are taken will they have a chance to defend themselves in court. This is de facto removal of due process.
Civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize property allegedly tainted by crime without ever charging the owner, are fundamentally rigged in favor of the law enforcement agencies that get a cut of the proceeds. Even when an owner manages to challenge a forfeiture by arguing that he was not involved in any criminal activity, he has the burden of proving his innocence, and the process often costs more than the property is worth. Adding insult to injury, the government can drag out the process for so long that even innocent owners feel compelled to surrender. The Institute for Justice (I.J.) challenges that aspect of civil forfeiture in an appeal it filed this week, asking the Supreme Court to rule that due process requires a prompt post-seizure hearing.
Early civil forfeiture laws in the United States recognized the importance of that safeguard. The Collections Act of 1789, I.J. notes, required a hearing within 14 days after the government filed its forfeiture complaint, which was supposed to happen shortly after the seizure. A decade later, Congress amended the law to emphasize that forfeiture suits must be commenced “without delay.” Nowadays, by contrast, property owners routinely wait months or years before they get a chance to challenge a seizure before a neutral adjudicator.