Will the new president defend the Constitution?

So the clouds have opened and all will be well since the Democrats won, right? Ha! Yeah, right. We’ve been warning our friends that civil liberties will still need defended at the local, state, and, yes, federal level after the election. Remember Bill Clinton with the Defense of Marriage Act, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the massive ballooning of the prison industrial complex, and the original proposal of the PATRIOT Act?

National is all over what needs to be done by President-elect Obama. Click here for the ACLU’s transition plan for the new president. Here’s Day One.

Day One: Stop Torture, Close Guantanamo, End Extraordinary Renditions
The next president will have a historic opportunity — on day one — to take very important steps to restore the rule of law in the interrogation and detention of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in secret prisons around the globe. Every action taken pursuant to an executive order of President Bush can be reversed by executive order of the next president.

Therefore, on the first day in office, the next president should issue an executive order directing all agencies to modify their policies and practices immediately to:

  • Cease and prohibit the use of torture and abuse, without exception, and direct the Attorney General immediately after his or her confirmation to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute any violations of federal criminal laws prohibiting torture and abuse;
  • Close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and either charge and try detainees under criminal law in federal criminal courts or before military courts-martial or transfer them to countries where they will not be tortured or detained without charge;
  • Cease and prohibit the practice of extraordinary rendition, which is the transfer of persons, outside of the judicial process, to other countries, including countries that torture or abuse prisoners.

Andy in Harrisburg