Fox News anchor Chris Wallace scoffed at Attorney General William Barr’s recent threats to take legal action against some states over their coronavirus shutdowns, claiming on Friday that the attorney general’s warnings were nothing more than “talk on a talk radio show.”
In a recent interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Barr groused that many states’ stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic have been “disturbingly close to house arrest” and that the Justice Department may need to take legal action against governors.
“We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place,” Barr said on Tuesday. “And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs.”
Appearing on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Wallace was asked by fellow anchor Sandra Smith to react to Barr’s comments, with Smith noting that the attorney general feels that the lockdowns are “infringing on our federal constitutional rights.”
“I think it’s not going to happen,” Wallace declared. “I think it’s talk on a talk radio show and I wonder about the attorney general engaging in that kind of talk.”
“It’s legally suspect, because if you look at when the president talk about ‘I have total authority to reopen the states,’ a lot of constitutional scholars on both the left and right noted that under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the states have all the powers that are not specifically given to the federal government,” he added.
Pointing out that state and local governments “close things down for public safety all the time,” the Fox News Sunday host said there was a “real legal issue there” before further noting that President Donald Trump has also offered guidelines calling for a gradual reopening for states.
“That’s why Governor Kemp in Georgia has run afoul,” Wallace concluded. “The idea that the Attorney General of the United States is going to get involved with a lawsuit in an individual state that perhaps goes against the president’s guidelines and goes against the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution? I don’t see that happening.”