There is a say that goes “never let a good crisis go to waste”. In response to this, Rolling Stone magazine by way of Yahoo! News reports that the judicial branch of government has been attempting to get more power from Congress, asking in what is a veritable attempt to suspect most constitutional rights because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies, according to a report by Politico’s Betsy Woodruff Swan.
The DOJ has requested Congress allow any chief judge of a district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation,” according to draft language obtained by Politico. This would be applicable to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil processes and proceedings.” They justify this by saying currently judges can pause judicial proceedings in an emergency but that new legislation would allow them to apply it “in a consistent manner.” (source)
It is true that some situations are exceptional. However, one does not want to get into the habit of suspending rights. Such things almost always end very badly.
The greatest danger of COVID-19 is not so much the disease- and this is not to say that it is not a threat.
It is the loss of rights and the evisceration of freedoms that is so dangerous in the name of authority.
Emergencies can cause problems, and require special provisions. However, they are often used to usher in tyranny and other forms of despotism.