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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Justice Department is throwing its support behind businesses suing the state of Michigan over the governor’s executive orders to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Along with signing her stay at home order, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued dozens of other executive orders. The orders shut down businesses across the state.   

close up of cross inlay on front of church
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

United States Attorney General William Barr issued a memo on Monday instructing U.S. attorneys to watch for state and local orders tied to the COVID-19 pandemic that could be violating the constitutional rights of citizens. Barr named the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Matthew Schneider, as one of two people to oversee that process. He spoke to Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou.

U.S. Department of Justice

One of Michigan’s U.S. Attorneys has been chosen to oversee federal investigations into state and local anti-COVID-19 measures to determine if they cross the constitutional line.

Attorney General William Barr issued a two-page memo on Monday to U.S. attorneys, saying the department would pursue action in court, if necessary.

Many states have issued orders compelling residents to stay home, with limited exceptions like essential trips for food and other supplies to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Matthew Schneider is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. 

U.S. Attorney General William Barr picked Schneider  to coordinate with Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband to coordinate Justice Department investigations into possible “infringement of constitutional and statutory protections” by state and local governments.