Expert Pitch
Washington University in St. Louis

WashU Expert: Withholding federal funds from ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ violates Constitution

The U.S. Department of Justice Sept. 21 issued a list of “anarchist jurisdictions,” pursuant to an order from President Donald Trump to review federal funding for cities where violence or vandalism has occurred adjacent to protests.

If the Trump administration withholds federal funds from these jurisdictions based on the “anarchist” designation, that withholding of funds would violate the Constitution in at least two ways, says a Constitutional law expert at Washington University in St. Louis.

Below, Greg Magarian, the Thomas and Karole Greene Professor of Law, discusses why.

“First, the withholding of funds would violate the unconstitutional conditions doctrine. That doctrine, which the Supreme Court has developed in applying the Constitution’s spending clause, prohibits the federal government from conditioning funding for state or local governments on the state’s or municipality’s violation of people’s constitutional rights. In this instance, the federal government appears to be targeting jurisdictions that, in Trump’s and (Attorney General William) Barr’s view, have inadequately cracked down on Black Lives Matter protests. The ‘anarchist’ list doesn’t make clear exactly what the federal government believes the ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ should have done differently.

“However, the federal government’s own documented actions of having its agents indiscriminately beat protesters and arrest protesters without legal justification provides a likely baseline for what the Trump administration thinks the ‘anarchist’ cities should have done. Those actions by federal agents clearly violated the beaten and arrested protesters’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. Therefore, the ‘anarchist’ list appears to be aimed at withholding federal funds from jurisdictions because those jurisdictions failed to violate protesters’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. Predicating federal funding on rights violations is exactly what the unconstitutional conditions doctrine forbids.

“Second, the withholding of funds would directly violate the First Amendment rights of people in the ‘anarchist’ jurisdictions by punishing them for their (and others’) political speech. The Trump-Barr ‘anarchist’ list, in conjunction with prior public statements by both Trump and Barr, singles out jurisdictions with Democrat-controlled governments; punishes only violence that the administration blames (speciously) on a political movement, Black Lives Matter, that Trump and Barr have harshly criticized; and appears intended primarily as a political stunt to excite Trump’s far-right base in the immediate run-up to an election.

“All of these features of the list indicate that any withholding of federal funds from the ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ would amount to the government’s use of its power to punish its political opponents and to intimidate its critics into silence. A more blatant violation of the First Amendment is hard to imagine.

“A more blatant violation of the First Amendment is hard to imagine.”

“In addition, the ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ list is just the latest in a long series of disturbing instances in which the Department of Justice under Barr has operated as, essentially, a political arm of the Trump administration and the Trump re-election campaign. The rule of law depends on the Department of Justice’s independence from political pressures. Under the ironic cover of preserving law and order, Barr is transforming the Department of Justice into an agency more suited to an autocracy than to a democracy. Given Trump’s and Barr’s contempt for the rule of law, their continuous assaults on Americans’ constitutional rights are becoming sadly routine and predictable.”




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4146
Newswise: Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Released: 25-Nov-2020 2:15 PM EST
Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Cedars-Sinai

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped more than half a year of our lives, canceling plans, upending livelihoods and causing feelings of grief, stress and anxiety. And Cedars-Sinai mental health experts say the pandemic could be shaping our mental health well into the future.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility
University College London

None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers.

Newswise: COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Maryland-based Altimmune Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has submitted an Investigational New Drug, or IND, application to the United States Food and Drug Administration to commence a Phase 1 clinical study of its single-dose intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
BIDMC researchers reveal how genetic variations are linked to COVID-19 disease severity
Beth Israel Lahey Health

New research BIDMC-led sheds light on the genetic risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to severe COVID-19.

Newswise: blog-pandemic-scenario-planning-lg-feature2.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts
Wallace Foundation

Researcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and culture organizations add scenario planning to their strategic toolbox

Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:30 AM EST
Young people's anxiety levels doubled during first COVID-19 lockdown, says study
University of Bristol

The number of young people with anxiety doubled from 13 per cent to 24 per cent, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown 1, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Newswise: 249837_web.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:20 AM EST
Tracking COVID-19 trends in hard-hit states
Louisiana State University

Currently, there are over 10 million confirmed cases and more than 240,000 casualties attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 9:55 AM EST
More Health Systems Join National #MaskUp Campaign
Cleveland Clinic

Many more health systems are joining the national #MaskUp campaign encouraging Americans to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines. Over just a few days, another 19 health systems with hundreds of hospitals united with 100 health systems nationwide with hospitals numbering in the thousands. The public service campaign is critical to the health and well-being of all Americans. It is a plea from healthcare professionals everywhere: wear a mask and follow other precautions to save lives and help get our country back on its feet.

Newswise: delaterre_jpeg.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 7:35 AM EST
Warwick scientists design model to predict cellular drug targets against Covid-19
University of Warwick

The covid-19 virus, like all viruses relies on their host for reproduction

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 30-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST Released to reporters: 24-Nov-2020 5:35 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 30-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.


Showing results

110 of 4146

close
1.30292