Letter to Attorney General Barr

Conservative Action Project — Friday, April 17, 2020

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General of the United States
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr,

During these troubled times, we want to thank you for your consistent stance to protect constitutional freedoms of the American people. Thank you, in particular, for focusing the Department of Justice (DOJ) on protecting religious freedom and First Amendment rights, as well as for your public statement against abuses of religious freedom through state and local coronavirus orders and the Statement of Interest filed by the DOJ in federal court in Mississippi just this week.

Because of the rampant abuses of constitutional rights and civil liberties through the myriad orders issued by the governors and local officials nationwide, as part of the response to COVID-19, we urge you to undertake immediate review of all the orders that have been issued by the states and local governments across the nation. Although the orders are for the purpose of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, the nature and enforcement of the orders have increasingly raised serious concerns about violating the basic protections and rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution. A few examples include:

  • Arresting pro-life counselors for peacefully standing outside an abortion clinic while maintaining social distance
  • Government officials arresting and handcuffing a father in front of his child for playing catch outdoors
  • Arresting a man for surfing
  • Ticketing citizens for attending a drive-in church service on church property, in their own cars.
  • Police officers telling an African American pastor that his rights are suspended because of coronavirus orders
  • Prohibitions on citizens’ rights to purchase firearms.
  • Claiming the right to assemble in protests against state shelter-in-place orders is not an “essential activity”

While government has the authority to act to protect public health during a time of pandemic, the United States Constitution requires that any government actions must be narrowly tailored to ensure that rights enshrined in the Constitution are not abrogated. Protecting the lives of its people is one of the important purposes of the very existence of our government, but there is no constitutional authority for any level of government to use the emergency as a justification for abusing its power and violating the most cherished Constitutional freedoms of the people of this country. Petty, would-be, dictators are attempting use the crisis as an opportunity to flex their perceived new muscles at the expense of the Constitution, and even telling citizens their right to protest such excess has been “suspended”.

As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, we call on you to halt the spread of these unconstitutional orders and enforcement tactics against the American people. We urge you to immediately assemble a task force at DOJ to do the following:

  • Review all local and state orders
  • Ensure that every order is narrowly tailored to address specific, identified and identifiable risks, and are not wholesale restrictions on the rights of citizens
  • Issue national guidelines for enforcement that reflect the Constitutional rights of the American people
  • Notify those state and local officials of the Constitutional deficiencies in their orders and request voluntary revision or cessation of enforcement of provisions that are identified by your review as violating the Constitution
  • Initiate litigation to enjoin the enforcement of orders that are not narrowly tailored and which infringe upon the basic rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Many see this crisis as an opportunity to reduce liberty and enlarge government power in permanent ways. We will do all in our power to make sure this does not happen. We urge the DOJ to take numerous, specific actions, right now, to focus and act against this disturbing new danger to our country’s future.

We know well that you share our devotion to America’s Constitutional liberties, and we are grateful that you are in a unique position to act decisively in their defense.

Sincerely,

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)
Alfred S. Regnery
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Chairman, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund
William L. Walton
President
Council for National Policy
Cleta Mitchell, Esq.
Partner
Foley & Lardner LLP
Kelly J. Shackelford, Esq.
Chairman, CNP Action, Inc.
President and CEO, First Liberty Institute
The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Former Counselor to the US Attorney General
The Honorable Matt Schlapp
Chairman
American Conservative Union (ACU)
Tom McClusky
President
March for Life Action
Thomas Fitton
President
Judicial Watch, Inc.
The Honorable Jim DeMint
Chairman, Conservative Partnership Institute
Member, US Senate (SC 2005-2013)
Ed Corrigan
Vice Chairman, Conservative Action Project
President, Conservative Partnership Institute
Rachel Bovard
Senior Director of Policy
Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI)
The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Chairman
Constitutional Congress, Inc.
Mary Vought
Executive Director
Senate Conservatives Fund
Lisa B. Nelson
Chief Executive Officer
American Legislative Exchange Council
Jenny Beth Martin
Chairman
Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund
Christopher Malagisi
Executive Director of Outreach
Hillsdale College
The Honorable Colin A. Hanna
President
Let Freedom Ring, Inc.
Myron Ebell
Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
White House Advisor
President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)
The Honorable Donald Paul Hodel
U.S. Secretary of Energy (1982-1985)
U.S. Secretary of Interior (1985-1989)
David Bozell
President
ForAmerica
Noah Wall
Vice President of Advocacy
FreedomWorks
The Honorable Bob McEwen
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Ohio
Marjorie Dannenfelser
President
Susan B. Anthony List
The Honorable Tony Perkins
President
Family Research Council
The Honorable Morton C. Blackwell
President
The Leadership Institute
The Honorable David McIntosh
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Indiana
Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
Mike Davis
Founder and President
The Article III Project (A3P)
Alan E. Sears
Founder
Alliance Defending Freedom
The Honorable Scott Walker
President-elect
Young America’s Foundation
Ron Robinson
President
Young America’s Foundation
Craig Dance
President / CEO
Champion Coach Inc.
Eunie Smith
President
Eagle Forum
Kathleen A. Patten
President & CEO
American Target Advertising
The Honorable Penny Pullen
Former Illinois State House Ass’t Republican Leader
Illinois General Assembly
Kay R. Daly
President
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
Richard Norman
Founder and President
The Richard Norman Company
Judson Phillips
Founder
Tea Party Nation
Ron Pearson
Executive Director
Conservative Victory Fund
Steve Berger
Pastor
Grace Chapel
Bob Carlstrom
President
AMAC Action
Stephen T. Whelan
Chairman
Witherspoon Institute
Kevin Freeman
Founder
NSIC Institute
Paavo Ensio
Chairman
Universal Minerals Group
The Honorable Peter Thomas
Chaiman
The Conservative Caucus
The Honorable Mike Hill
Representative
Florida State House
Floyd Brown
Publisher
The Western Journal
Sean Noble
President
American Encore
A. Eric Johnston
President
The Southeast Law Institute
William H. Shaker
CEO
Washington Marketing Group
Rod D. Martin
Founder & CEO
The Martin Organization, Inc.
Sherri R. Martin
Executive Vice President
The Martin Organization, Inc.
Haley E. Martin
President
The Martin Foundation
Christina Murphy Lusk
Campaign for the American Future
Guillermo J. Aragon
Chief Financial Officer
Martin Imaging, Inc.
Benjamin Nieuwsma
Founder and CEO
Navigo
Shawn A. Mitchell
Former National Chaplain
National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA)
Amapola Hansberger
President
Legal Immigrants for America
The Honorable Bill Owens
President
Coalition of African American Pastors, USA
Elaine D. Little
Vice-President
Eagle Forum of Alabama
Glenn Preston Story
President & Co-Founder
Patriot Mobile
The Honorable Arnold Mooney
State Representative
Alabama House of Representatives
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder & President
James Dobson Family Institute
Mario Navarro da Costa
Director, Washington Bureau
Tradition, Family, Property
Kirk Uhler
Executive Director
National Tax Limitation Committee
Dr. Richard Rounsavelle
Trustee
Media Research Center
Allen Roth
President
Secure America Now
Rebekah Gantner
Executive Director
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund
The Honorable James C. Miller III
Budget Director for President Reagan, 1985-1988
Sal Russo
Co-Founder and Chief Strategist
Tea Party Express
Ed Martin
President
Phyllis Schlafly Eagles
Charlie Copeland
President
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer
Presidential Historian
The Honorable Gary L. Bauer
President
American Values
Rebecca Hagelin
CEO
United in Purpose
Allen Hebert
Chairman
American-Chinese Fellowship of Houston
Dr. Paige Patterson
President
Sandy Creek Foundation
Shirley Fran Lewis
President
Lewis Jewelers and More
C. Preston Noell III
President
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
Randy M. Long
Founder
Long Business Advisors, LLC
Barry Meguiar
President
Ignite America
Joan Holt Lindsey
President
Lindsey Communications
Dr. E. Calvin Beisner
President
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
Willes K. Lee
President
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
Mark Stuhlreyer
Owner
Contingent Holdings, LLC
Penna Dexter
Co-host
Point of View Radio
The Honorable Tom DeLay
Former Majority Leader
U. S. House of Representatives
Dr. Virginia Armstrong
National Chairman
Eagle Forum’s Court Watch
Robert K. Fischer
Meeting Coordinator
Conservatives of Faith
Lori Roman
President
American Constitutional Rights Union
Robert D. Thompson
Former Administrator
The Weyrich Lunch Meeting (1999-2016)
The Honorable Diana Denman
President
The Reagan Legacy Forum

**Signatures updated: 4/20/20

All organizations listed for IDENTIFICATION purposes only.

The Conservative Action Project (CAP) was founded in 2008 by many conservative leaders, with former Attorney General Edwin Meese III serving as Founding Chairman. The group works to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. CAP routinely issues "Memos to the Movement" demonstrating consensus among conservatives on key issues.