MADISON — The abuses of government power are rapidly piling up in the pandemic age.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights launched a probe into five states that ban school districts from issuing mask mandates. Why? Because the Biden administration, like the Obama administration, has weaponized the full power of the federal government to force its policies and initiatives on Americans.
The Democrat-led agency insists students with disabilities could be at risk in Republican states that have prohibited school districts from demanding parents and students comply with mask mandates or else.
The Office of Civil Rights in letters to the districts describes itself as a “neutral factfinder,” asserting that it has yet to determine whether federal law has been broken, according to Forbes.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Biden was picking a “political fight.”
“Iowa was able to reopen schools safely and responsibly over a year ago,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “President Biden and his team know this, yet they’ve decided to pick a political fight with a handful of governors to distract from his own failures — Afghanistan, the border, inflation, and more.”
“After the DOE Office for Civil Rights opens a probe, it sometimes resolves allegations by brokering an agreement with the target of its investigation, according to the office’s internal policies. It can also refer allegations to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution, and the Associated Press notes it can revoke federal funding in some cases,” Forbes reports.
Wisconsin has been down this road before. In 2016, the Obama Department of Justice ended a four-year investigation into the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. It turned up absolutely no evidence of discrimination against disabled children or violations of federal law by private schools or the choice program. But the MPCP had to spend lots of time and resources defending itself from the DOJ’s harassment campaign.
“While it’s gratifying that – after over four years – the federal government finally recognized that there is nothing to see here, it’s troubling that Washington continues to throw its weight around,” Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said at the time.
Elsewhere, a Cook County (Ill.) judge on Monday rescinded his previous order taking away a woman’s custody rights of her 11-year-old son because he didn’t like that the woman hadn’t gotten a COVID-19 shot.
Rebecca Firlit and her ex-husband were in a child support hearing Aug. 10 when Judge James Shapiro asked if she had been vaccinated, according to the Chicago Tribune.
When Firlit told Shapiro she couldn’t get the shot because she has reacted badly to other vaccines and is under medical orders not to receive it, the judge suspended her parenting time “until (she) demonstrates sufficient proof to this court … of vaccination against COVID-19,” court documents state.
Chicago’s Fox 32 first reported the story over the weekend. The mother’s attorney, Annette Fernholz, told the Tribune she worried her client’s custody battles may not be over.
“The way this order is written, it kind of invites the dad to bring the issue back before him,” she said.
Court rules bar judges from commenting on the order.