The Department of Justice is pushing for additional powers as the coronavirus crisis continues to spread across the United States, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) is not too happy about it.
According to POLITICO, documents detailing the requests that the department has made to lawmakers include topics on asylum, how court hearings are conducted and the statute of limitations.
The department made a request for chief judges to be able to delay a defendant’s right to a speedy trial in the event of an emergency.
Ocasio-Cortez made her disagreement with this provision clear during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.
“I think it is abhorrent,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding, “There is a long history in this country and in other countries of using emergencies as times to really start to encroach upon people’s civil rights. And in fact, this is a time when we need them the absolute most.”
Watch her comments below:
Ocasio-Cortez also immediately tweeted her response to the announcement that the department was seeking these expanded powers.
“Absolutely not,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Absolutely not. https://t.co/buaiiU92Xk— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2020
The New York Democrat proceeded to point out how important it was to maintain civil rights during a time like this.
“It does not matter how urgent times are. We have to make sure that we retain our civil rights. And there’s no reason for us to be waiving folks’ civil rights in an emergency,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Lawmakers are working to help relieve the effects that the coronavirus is having on Americans and the economy.
Democrats and Republicans seem to be nearing a deal on a plan that would spend $1 trillion to help mitigate the economic downturn, as IJR previously reported.
Total cases worldwide have reached 318,662 and a total of 27,004 in the United States, according to reports.