As readers of this blog know, Winning Progressive supports our President both because he has done much to advance the progressive cause and because the Republican alternative would be an absolute disaster for our country, economy, and people. That being said, there are areas where we have been seriously disappointed with the President, the most significant of which is in the area of civil liberties. Unfortunately, especially when purported national security issues are involved, the Obama Administration has not only largely failed to fight for progressive values with regards to civil liberties but has on a number of occasions specifically approved and even expanded dangerous policies enacted by the W. Bush Administration.
Over the next few weeks, we plan to cover four areas regarding civil liberties where the Obama Administration has inexcusably fallen short. Tomorrow’s post will focus on indefinite military detention and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (“NDAA”). Future posts will discuss rendition of suspects to other countries, the expansion of the Transportation Security Administration, and the militarization of police forces throughout the country.
In terms of civil liberties, our focus here is on the core protections offered by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, including the rights of individuals to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures, the fundamental assumption that people are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the entitlement of suspects to a fair trial before a neutral decision maker at which the suspect is represented by counsel and is able to confront evidence against them. Winning Progressive understands the serious political hurdles facing this or any other Administration in protecting these rights, especially when they are (wrongly) perceived to conflict with national security. And we have no doubt that the GOP would be even worse on civil liberties. However, given how important civil liberties are to who we are as a people, and how easy it is to slide down the slippery slope of even further eroded civil liberties, we expect any President, and especially a largely progressive Democratic President who used to be a Constitutional law professor, to defend the civil liberties that are at the core of our Constitutional and criminal justice systems. The Obama Administration’s failure to do so is a major disappointment that simply cannot be brushed aside.
As an introduction to this series, we’d like to provide some resources for how you can get involved in helping to stop the erosion of our civil liberties and restore the Constitutional values that has made our nation great. Very few issues are more important than this one.
* Center for Constitutional Rights – a legal and educational advocacy organization that seeks to protect and promote the rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Get Involved – Facebook
Tags: ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, civil liberties, detention, National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA, Obama Administration, President Obama, rendition, TSA