Rights on the mind

As regular readers of this column know, the issue of the civil rights of citizens during this time of COVID-19 has been an examined subject.

Going back a couple of weeks, this column spoke about some of the legal issues that have emerged with the sociological limitations put in place. At the same time, a discussion ensued with a friend of mine, delving into these issues a bit more.

They were interesting discussions. He being a Lawyer and I being a Political Scientist by education proved that while we understand that society needs to have these limits put on it now, there was agreement that, indeed, the Constitution of the United States does not simply get put to the side just because of a pandemic virus.

It would turn out that our discussions were not the only ones happening on this issue. In fact, top people in the field of law were also talking about it.

This came to fruition on Monday, March 30, when it was shared with me a message from Hawaii State Bar Association President P. Gregory Frey, in which he told his members:

“Government attorneys play a significant role in advising their clients how to combat COVID-19 and how to continue to protect civil liberties in this restricted environment. Legal service providers like Legal Aid Society of Hawaii continue to service their clients every day (remotely or otherwise) and through the innovative use of IT. Mediators and arbitrators continue to move cases along remotely subject to party/counsel agreement(s) to proceed (and existing governmental mandates/orders)”.

Hawaii State Bar Assn.

As our nation continues to go down the rabbit hole of new restrictions that upturn lives for the sake of killing a virus, keep in mind once again that civil rights still exist. As mentioned before, the Constitution does not simply disappear just because we are fighting a virus.