March 13, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump today invoked emergency powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is comment from Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in response:

"Use of emergency powers in this pandemic can be legitimate for measures grounded in science and public health and when consistent with the need to protect the health, safety, and civil liberties of us all. At the same time, history teaches that our government is most prone to committing abuses in times of crisis, and we must ensure that broad presidential powers are not misused beyond legitimate needs.

“The ACLU will be watching closely to make sure any use of emergency powers in response to the pandemic is grounded in science and public health, not politics or discrimination. As the government takes the necessary steps to ensure public health, it must also safeguard people’s due process, privacy, and equal protection rights. We must regularly reevaluate the use of emergency powers to ensure they are effective, remain justified, and are properly employed."

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