Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

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Action Alert

September 19, Cast Your Vote to Restore Constitutional Protections during the National Call-in Day to Congress!

Next week is National Call-in to Congress Week on two laws that have savaged centuries of constitutional protections -- The Military Commissions Act and the Protect America Act. Congress must act decisively this fall to restore Habeas Corpus and Fourth Amendment guards against unchecked government surveillance. They must not continue to allow this executive branch to violate those essential building blocks of our rights as people.

The national coalition member listed below are urging their members to call Congress on a specific day. BORDC’s day is Wednesday, September 19.

Thank you for your calls and visits to members of Congress about their votes on the Military Commissions Act, which strips habeas corpus from most people in the world, and also for your work to remind Congressional representatives that the so-called Protect America Act fundamentally damages our Fourth Amendment protections when it allows the government to mine our communications for data without any court oversight. Please join in this call-in to help us keep the phones ringing in the halls of Congress all week long!

In this message:

  • Restore Habeas Corpus
  • Restore the Fourth Amendment
  • Make Your Calls
  • Military Commissions Act Roll Call Votes and Message
  • Protect America Act Roll Call Votes and Message
  • Other Organizations Supporting the Call-in Week

Restore Habeas Corpus!

Several bills have already been introduced to fix the Military Commissions Act (MCA), but none has made it to the House or Senate floor for a vote. See BORDC’s legislation page for summaries of current bills. Soon both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Armed Services Committees will be considering H.R. 2826, To amend titles 28 and 10, United States Code, to restore habeas corpus. With their support, the bill would go the House floor for a vote.

It’s time to insist that Congress move forward on restoring the 800-year-old protection against arbitrary and indefinite government detentions -– habeas corpus. Ask your representative to support H.R. 2826, another proposed bill, or an overturning of the MCA. More talking points are available here.

Restore the Fourth Amendment!

House and Senate leadership have promised to “fix” the “Protect America Act” this month. Your calls to your members of Congress may make the difference between cosmetic changes and a bill that leaves our Fourth Amendment protection open to unreasonable searches and seizures. More talking points are available here.

Make Your Calls

Please join this effort by calling Congress this Wednesday, September 19th, and ask your friends to do the same.

  • Make sure your voice is heard and your “vote” counted by using the BORDC Call-in page to find your legislators' direct Washington office phone numbers and to report back to us how many calls you made and how your calls went. We’ll report to Congress how many of you raised your voices on these two issues.

OR

  • Dial the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask the operator to connect you (24 hours a day)

Please phone both your Senators and your Representative.

Can't get through right away? Many people must be phoning Congress. Keep your calls coming! If you prefer not to wait, call the next day or look up the phone number for the district office.

Military Commissions Act Roll Call Votes and Message

See how they voted on the Military Commissions Act (S 3930) here:

Remind your rep. or senator who voted for the MCA, or who did not vote, that each individual must have the right to challenge their detention before an impartial judge. Without that protection, people are judged guilty without due process, and presumption of innocence that used to guide our legal system is now a sham.

Protect America Act Roll Call Votes and Message

See how they voted on the administration's Protect America Act (S. 1927) here.

Remind your rep. or senator who voted for the PAA, or who did not vote, that Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because the executive branch had been wiretapping Americans without warrants. The Protect America Act legalizes warrantless surveillance of Americans without any judicial oversight or meaningful reporting to Congress, and it therefore needs to be overturned.

Other organizations supporting the call-in week (partial list) include the Alliance for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, DownsizeDC.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights First, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, No2Torture Network, and People For the American Way.

Thank you for all you do!

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee:

Nancy Talanian, Director
Ben Grosscup, East Region Organizer
Hope Marston, West Region Organizer
Susan Heitker, Administrator