ACLU Launches Constitution Voter Campaign To Restore Lost Liberties In ‘08
WASHINGTON - The
American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign asking Americans to
pledge to be Constitution Voters. The "I'm a Constitution Voter" campaign is a
nonpartisan initiative to encourage activists to let candidates - including
those running for president - know that the Constitution will be the first thing
on their minds when they step into the polling booth this November. In addition
to asking voters to sign a pledge to help make the Constitution a central issue
in this campaign season, ACLU affiliates from coast to coast are holding events
to commemorate Constitution Day and educate people about the rights and freedoms
the Constitution protects.
"The next president will have the
power to piece back together our Constitution after eight years in which it has
been torn apart. Whoever is elected president must act with energy and
conviction to restore our lost liberties, end torture and hold accountable those
who have broken the law," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the
ACLU. "By pledging to be a Constitution Voter, you can make sure that the next
president will be committed to restoring the Constitution and the fundamental
freedoms it protects. When we step into the ballot box this November, our
leaders need to know that we care about our liberty. We want the next president
to uphold the law - not try to subvert it."
The pledges will be delivered to
the presidential candidates. The pledge, to be signed by Constitution Voters,
includes the following statements:
- I believe that no one
- not even the president - is above the law.
- I oppose all forms of
torture, and I support closing the Guantánamo Bay prison, shutting down the military
commissions, and ending indefinite detention.
I oppose warrantless
I believe that
government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for
breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
I believe that the
Constitution protects every person's rights equally - no matter what they
believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
I reject the notion
that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name
of fighting terrorism.
I am deeply committed
to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to act on that commitment -
every day, without fail.
One: Stop Torture, Close Guantánamo, End Extraordinary
"The next president will have an
historic opportunity to restore the Constitution and the rule of law," said
Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office
"Every executive order issued by President Bush can be reversed by the executive
orders of our next president - with the stroke of a pen, on day one."
On his first day in office, the
next president should:
- Ban the use of torture by the
government, without exception.
- Close the Guantánamo Bay prison, shut down the military
commissions and either try the detainees in criminal court or under the Uniform
Code of Military Justice. If they can't be tried in established American courts,
they should be sent to countries where they won't be tortured or held without
- End the practice of extraordinary
rendition - kidnapping people and sending them to countries where they are
likely to be tortured.
"The first 100 days of any new
administration is crucial," said Fredrickson. "The new president needs to hit the
The following are the things the
next president should do within his first 100 days in office:
spying Restore critical constitutional
checks and balances when our government wants to spy on
lists Order the government's watch lists
to be completely reviewed within three months, and the names on the lists be
limited to those who would do us harm.
Encourage the freedom of
information Rescind the "Ashcroft Doctrine,"
which encourages agencies to withhold records requested under the Freedom of
Stop monitoring of
activists Direct the attorney general and
other relevant agency heads to end government monitoring of political
Enforce civil rights
laws Order the Department of Justice's
Civil Rights Division to enforce civil rights laws.
Suspend Real ID
Act Direct the secretary of homeland
security to suspend the regulations for the Real ID Act pending a congressional
Ban sexual orientation
discrimination Prohibit discrimination against
LGBT workers employed by the federal government.
Halt the death
penalty Implement a federal death penalty
moratorium until its inherent racial disparities are
initiatives" Ensure that no one endures
religious discrimination when applying for a job or receiving services funded by
These changes will happen only if
we elect a president who is committed to restoring the Constitution and the rule
Go to www.aclu.org/constitutionvoter to sign
our pledge and let the candidates running for office know that in this election,
you are voting for the Constitution.
Visit www.aclu.org for more
information on Constitutional issues, to sign the pledge and to find organizing
resources and toolkits.
Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh-SaU8DzoY for a new
ACLU video celebrating Constitution Day.