Feingold Issues 100 Day Report on Obama's Actions to Restore Rule of Law

For Immediate Release

Feingold Issues 100 Day Report on Obama's Actions to Restore Rule of Law

Report Concludes Obama's First 100 Days Provide Mostly Encouraging Signs But Raises Concerns On Certain Issues Including State Secrets

WASHINGTON - In anticipation of President Obama's 100th day in
office, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today released a "100 Day Rule of
Law Report" to examine the new administration's efforts to reverse the
Bush administration's eight year assault on the rule of law.  Feingold
assessed the steps the Obama administration has taken thus far to
address recommendations made by forty organizations and experts in
connection with a Senate Constitution Subcommittee hearing chaired by
Feingold on September 16, 2008, entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law." 
President Obama received high marks for several actions he has taken in
his first 100 days in office, including his executive orders to close
the facility at Guantanamo Bay, ban torture and increase transparency. 
However, Feingold's review finds the Obama administration's invoking of
the state secrets privilege "troubling." 

"Since
coming into office, President Obama has faced enormous challenges
including an economy in crisis and military operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan," Feingold said.  "Those issues obviously have to be on the
front burner for him, as well as Congress.  No one thought President
Obama was going to undo eight years of reckless policies in just a
hundred days.  But President Obama has also committed to restore the
rule of law and end one of the darkest periods in our constitutional
history, and the hundred-day mark offers a good opportunity to assess
those efforts."

Feingold's report is
based on the policy recommendations generated by his September hearing
and outlined in a December 10th letter to then President-elect Obama. 
Among those making the recommendations were John Podesta, co-chair of
President Obama's transition and other current or pending Obama
administration nominees, and Harold Koh, Dean of the Yale Law School
and President Obama's nominee to be State Department Legal Advisor. 
The recommendations were grouped into four general categories: 
separation of powers; excessive government secrecy; detention and
interrogation policy; and domestic surveillance and privacy.  

"I
am generally pleased with what I have seen so far, particularly in the
areas of transparency and detainee and interrogation policy," Feingold
said.  "The president has taken swift and decisive action to make a
clear break with the previous administration on those fronts, including
the release of the previous administration's memos authorizing torture,
which were a horrific abuse of the rule of law.  I remain troubled,
though, by the administration's invoking the state secrets privilege
three times in its first one hundred days, which highlights the urgent
need for the state secrets legislation I joined Senators Leahy,
Specter, Kennedy and others in introducing.  I am also taking a wait
and see approach to this administration's efforts on domestic
surveillance and privacy.  Fixing problems in this area will take
congressional action but the administration will have opportunities to
show its support for the rights and privacy of Americans later this
year when Congress is expected to take up the PATRIOT Act's
reauthorization."

Feingold's review can be found at:  http://feingold.senate.gov/ruleoflaw

 

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