Hawley Asks Barr To Investigate States Over ‘Blatant’ Violations Of Religious Freedoms
Senator Josh Hawley, R-MO, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday asking him to investigate state leaders for allegedly violating the religious freedoms of Americans, while allowing protests to continue across the country.
“In the past few weeks, state officials across the country have blatantly violated the
free exercise and free speech rights of religious Americans,” Hawley wrote. “Under the First Amendment, state officials must not treat religious persons and groups worse than others, and they must not favor one kind of speech over another. State officials have violated the free speech and free exercise rights of religious Americans by treating religious gatherings and speech differently than the speech and mass gatherings of protests. I urge you to launch a full civil rights investigation.”
The letter comes as protests continue nationwide in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, which Hawley recognized as the public’s constitutional right to do so peacefully. Although thousands are able to take to the streets, Hawley explained that many state and local leaders are still keeping religious Americans away from their faith gatherings.
Hawley noted, “Now, after two weeks of nationwide protests, no uncertainty remains. Many jurisdictions across the nation are imposing extraordinarily strict caps on religious gatherings—such as restricting religious gatherings to 10 or fewer people—even as those jurisdictions allow thousands of people to gather closely in protests. States cannot allow one but prohibit the other.”
“These actions also violate free speech. The First Amendment prohibits state officials from banning meetings based on the ideas that will be expressed. State officials have determined that the message behind the current protests is worth saying. But state officials cannot block religious speech while allowing protests simply because the states think the protest speech is more valuable.”
AG Barr has been outspoken about the issue since the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down many cities and states. Moreover, he’s put many states on notice for violating religious rights, while allowing certain “essential” places to remain open for business.
Read the full letter below:
Letter Attorney General Barr Protests Religious Discrimination by Sara on Scribd
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House GOP: Conservatives Paralyze Legislative Business
Conservatives within the House GOP are taking on party leaders by engaging in an unprecedented blockade, effectively paralyzing the chamber’s legislative business. The standoff began after a typically routine procedural vote failed on Tuesday, prompting conservatives to seize control of the floor.
At the center of the dispute is the debt limit deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden. Some conservatives feel that the procedures used to pass the deal in the House last week did not align with the agreement they had reached with McCarthy. This agreement granted conservatives more influence over decision-making and the operational procedures involved in moving the bill forward, and they now accuse leadership of violating these commitments.
The tension escalated when Freedom Caucus members and their allies joined forces with Democrats in voting against a rule that would have allowed several bills, including two addressing the Biden administration’s gas stove limitations, to reach the House floor. This marked the first time in two decades that a rules vote had failed.
Representative Matt Gaetz voiced his frustration, expressing concern that the fundamental commitments made to secure McCarthy’s speakership had been disregarded due to the debt limit deal. Gaetz also criticized the punishment meted out to Representative Andrew Clyde for his stance against the rule that allowed the debt limit increase.
According to reports from Fox News, Gaetz said, “I am very aggrieved at the punishment that was delivered to my colleague Andrew Clyde on his bill regarding pistol braces… for him standing with us and the votes we took against the rule that allowed the debt limit to be increased.”
Gaetz pledged to bring the House floor to a grinding halt, anticipating a prolonged shutdown.
“We took down the rule because we’re frustrated at the way this place is operating,” stated Rep. Gaetz. “We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” he added.
The era of the Imperial Speakership is OVER!
I’m done with their failure theater. https://t.co/Ceovz4C03U pic.twitter.com/7jNJpfRz4Z
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 6, 2023
The conservatives’ grievances extend beyond the procedural vote, with accusations that McCarthy has deviated from the undisclosed agreement made in January. Specific concessions that the dissident Republicans seek from McCarthy remain undisclosed, but they emphasize the need to restore unity and renegotiate their role within the party.
While McCarthy met with members of the Freedom Caucus, little progress was reported, and it remains uncertain if any votes will take place on the following day. The group insists that the restoration of a fair and inclusive process is essential to rectify the perceived failures of the previous week.
As the GOP leadership grapples with the repercussions of this internal standoff, the Republican majority’s effectiveness hangs in the balance. The path forward hinges on whether leadership is willing to reciprocate and address the concerns of the the dissenting group within the conservative ranks, ultimately determining the future of the party’s legislative agenda.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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