Attorney General William Barr's assertion stay-at home orders are "disturbingly close to house arrest" is incorrect, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
They are "not the functional equivalent of house arrest," Dershowitz told "American Agenda," pointing out that house arrest is significantly more restrictive than the shelter-in-place orders.
Barr told "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on Wednesday the country is facing "unprecedented burdens on civil liberties" and stay-at-home orders are "disturbingly close to house arrest."
Dershowitz did concede these orders are "a serious restriction on the freedom to move" and that, in order to be legal, "all restricitons have to be narrow, they have to be limited in time and they have to be very, very directly relevant to the crisis we now face."
He stressed "there are going to be balances that will have to be struck by the courts between two fundamental rights – to one's liberty and the right to ensure public health."
Dershowitz also pointed out a stay-at-home order might not "be enforceable though the criminal law," if that state's legislature did not "authorize the executive to impose these stay-at-home orders," which would then make them merely advisable.
He also emphasized, even if they have legislative authority, they might be unconstitutional under the First Amendment and, in many cases, it would be difficult for the court to find the appropriate balance.
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