Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mr. Obama, undo the Bush-era Constitutional wrongs

In 2007, the American Freedom Agenda Act (H.R. 3835) failed (never made it out of committee).

President Obama, will you commit to restoring the Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government abuses that we gave up under the Bush administration? Any future president can use them again, unless we correct these wrongs.

Specifically:

  • Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.
  • Prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
  • Prohibit the use of secret evidence.
  • Prohibit the detention of anyone, including U.S. citizens, as an "enemy combatant" outside the battlefield, and on the President's say-so alone.
  • Prohibit the government from secretly breaking and entering our homes, tapping our phones or email, or seizing our computers without a court order, on the President's say-so alone.
  • Prohibit the President from "disappearing" anyone and holding them in secret detention.
  • Prohibit the executive from claiming "state secrets" to deny justice to victims of government misdeeds, and from claiming "executive privilege" to obstruct Congressional oversight and an open government.
  • Prohibit the abuse of signing statements, where the President seeks to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills.
  • Use the federal courts, or courts-martial, to charge and prosecute terrorism suspects, and close Guantanamo down.
  • Reaffirm that the Espionage Act does not prohibit journalists from reporting on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution.

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