Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

BILL OF RIGHTS Defense Committee - Working with communities to uphold the Bill of RightsWe the People
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Sample Resolution Clauses by Objective

Preambular Clauses
Operative Clauses

Preambular Clauses

Preambular Clauses

National Security Letters & Section 215

  • Within the USA PATRIOT Act are provisions expanding the scope of national security letters ("NSL"), an administrative subpoena primarily issued by the FBI compelling third parties to turn over certain information without court approval, and the scope of warrants for the production of "tangible things", issued by a secret court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("215 orders").
  • Provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act prohibited indefinitely the recipients of NSLs and 215 orders from disclosing the contents of the notices and the very fact that they had received the notices.
  • Following much criticism and two adverse court decisions, Congress on March 2006, amended the provisions pertaining to NSLs and 215 orders to allow the recipient of a NSL or a 215 order to challenge the validity of the NSL or the 215 order in court and to allow the recipient to challenge the gag in court
  • Questions persist about the constitutionality of the provisions pertaining to NSLs and 215 orders, as amended, because to prevail in a challenge a recipient must meet a high burden of proof and no exchanges of information, even those between attorney and client and physician and patient are deemed confidential
  • The City of [INSERT NAME OF CITY] collects and retains many sensitive and nonpublic records which the federal government could seek by the means of NSL or 215 order, and desires to ensure that the constitutional rights of City residents, employees and other persons using City facilities and services are safeguarded.

Warrantless Wiretapping

  • The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized;"
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, 95-511, 92 Stat. 1783 (FISA) comprehensively regulates electronic surveillance within the United States, with the goal of striking a proper constitutional balance between protection of civil liberties and safeguarding national security;
  • FISA was created in response to what the 1976 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities called "The crescendo of improper intelligence activity in the latter part of the 1960s and the early 1970s." The Committee's quote continues, "In times of crisis, the Government will exercise its power to conduct domestic intelligence activities to the fullest extent. The distinction between legal dissent and criminal conduct is easily forgotten. Our job is to recommend means to help ensure that the distinction will always be observed." Under those conditions, FISA was crafted to prevent spying on domestic political groups;
  • FISA provides a legal mechanism for the United States Government to engage in surveillance of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power where it is likely that the surveillance will acquire the contents of a communication to which a United States person is a party; expressly establishes FISA and specified provisions of the federal criminal code as the "exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted," 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(f); and makes criminal any electronic surveillance not authorized by statute;
  • FISA provides specific exceptions that allow the President to authorize warrantless electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes (1) in emergency situations, provided an application for judicial approval from a FISA court is made within 72 hours; and (2) within 15 calendar days following a declaration of war by Congress;
  • President Bush has directed the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct secret and warrantless electronic surveillance of persons within the United States without any plausible legal authority for such surveillance, and the NSA has in fact conducted such surveillance, in contravention of FISA and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution;
  • These actions diminish the rule of law without enhancing national security.

Military Commissions Act / Habeas Corpus

  • The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus as written in the Military Commissions Act is a violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution of the United States;
  • The statute denies to human beings determined to be unlawful enemy combatants the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • The statute denies to persons including citizens brought within the power of the United States the rights to which they are entitled under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions;
  • The statute provides for the immunization of members of the United States Armed Forces and government entities for acts which may have violated the rules of law, both national and international, which would otherwise subject such persons to possible criminal prosecution for war crimes, and that such immunity be retroactive to September 11, 2001;
  • The statute purports in numerous other ways to exempt the United States and its armed forces from responsibility for actions which have violated the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • The statute appears on its face to fail to comply with the Constitution of the United States by failing to uphold the rule of law or to adhere to the doctrine of separation of powers;

Questioning of the USA PATRIOT Act

  • The United States Congress, on a bipartisan basis, has started a review of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  • The USA PATRIOT Act will be reconsidered by Congress for possible reauthorization and to determine whether various sunset provisions contained therein should be eliminated or retained;
  • The United States House of Representatives voted 309-118 in July 2003 not to allocate funds in the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary appropriations bill to fund the so-called "sneak and peek" searches and seizures allowed by Section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  • Approximately [obtain number from BORDC.org] communities from across the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these values, and demanding accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding their use of these new powers;
  • Many law enforcement agencies have courageously declined to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney General in the unlawful questioning of Arab, Muslim and South Asian appearing residents resulting from profiling rather than probable cause;
  • A federal district court in California held that the USA PATRIOT Act’s prohibition on providing "expert advice or assistance" to foreign terrorist organizations is unconstitutionally vague;

USA PATRIOT Act and other Federal Government Policy (pick among bullets)

A federal district court in California held that the USA PATRIOT Act’s prohibition on providing "expert advice or assistance" to foreign terrorist organizations is unconstitutionally vague;
Federal anti-terrorism policies, including provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56) and related executive orders, regulations and actions may threaten fundamental civil rights and liberties by being interpreted as:

  • Authorizing the indefinite incarceration or deportation of non-citizens even if they have not committed a crime (USA PATRIOT Act, Sections 411 and 412);
  • Limiting judicial supervision and civil liberties protections in the application of telephone and internet surveillance (USA PATRIOT Act, Section 216);
  • Expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct secret searches so that the subject of a search warrant is unaware that the property has been searched (USA PATRIOT Act, Section 213);
  • Granting law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to sensitive medical, mental health, library, business, financial, educational, and other records about individuals without first showing probable cause or evidence of a crime (USA PATRIOT Act, Sections 215,218,219, 358,507, and 508);
  • Limiting constitutionally protected speech through unchecked authority of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to designate domestic groups as "terrorist organizations" using overbroad definitions of "terrorism" (USA PATRIOT Act, Section 411);
  • Authorizing the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated by the President as "enemy combatants" (Hamdi and Padilla cases);
  • Authorizing the FBI to conduct surveillance of religious services, internet chatrooms, political demonstrations, and other public meetings without evidence that a crime has been or may be committed (Attorney General's guidelines and procedures relating to criminal investigations and national security, May 30, 2002);
  • Limiting the disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act (Memorandum for Heads of all Federal Departments and Agencies, Oct. 12, 2001);
  • Permitting wiretapping of conversations between federal prisoners and their lawyers (Bureau of Prisons Order, 28 CFR 501.3);
  • Establishing secret military tribunals for foreign citizen terrorism suspects (Military Order, Nov. 13, 2001);
  • Allowing the indefinite detention of foreign citizen terrorism suspects (Military Order, Nov. 13, 2001);

Homeland Security Act (pick among bullets)

The Homeland Security Act

  • increases secret surveillance and reduces privacy protections;
  • allows the federal government to maintain extensive files on all Americans without court order or probable cause or evidence of a crime;
  • expands the ability of government to access emails and information about an individual's Internet activity without judicial supervision;
  • provides exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act and the Sunshine Act, decreasing public access to information regarding government proceedings;

Threats to Ethnic Minorities and Non-citizens

  • The Department of Justice interpretations of the USA PATRIOT Act and related Executive Orders particularly target immigrants, including Hispanics, people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent and citizens of other nations, thereby potentially encouraging racial profiling by law enforcement and the unintended consequences of increase in hate crimes by individuals in our community;
  • These new powers pose a threat to the civil rights and liberties of all who reside in [Location] but particularly those who are Muslim and/or those of Arab or South Asian descent and other immigrant populations;
  • The due process and equal protection clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution guarantee certain due process and equal protection rights to all residents of the United States regardless of citizenship or immigration status;

Denouncing Terrorist Acts

  • [Location] denounces and condemns all acts of terrorism, wherever they occur;
  • The residents of [Location] wish to honor the memory of all those who died as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks;
  • [Location] has among its residents many who were affected directly, and many more who were indirectly affected, by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, both in New York City and at the Pentagon;
  • Attacks against Americans such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, have necessitated the crafting of effective laws to protect the public from terrorist attacks;
  • [Location] believes that it is fitting to honor the memory of all those who died or were injured as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, not only by protecting national security and defending against terrorist attacks, but also by defending the fundamental constitutional freedoms and protections guaranteed to all persons living in the United States;

Balancing National Security with Civil Liberties

  • While the prevention of future terrorist attacks is a critical national priority, it is equally important to preserve the fundamental civil liberties and personal freedoms which were enshrined in the Bill of Rights over 200 years ago, and which have been preserved through a constant vigilance and outcry against periodic threats to their existence;
  • [Location] believes that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty and that government can protect public safety without impairing civil rights and liberties;
  • Residents of [Location] have expressed alarm about the pursuit of security without appropriate protection of Constitutional rights;
  • Federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, but should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion to ensure that any new security measure enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties;
  • It is essential that, in providing such increased security, governmental agencies undertake only such security measures as are reasonable and necessary and do not undermine the fundamental rights and liberties which make this nation unique and great, such as freedom of speech, religion and assembly, the right to privacy, due process and equal protection of law, and the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures;
  • The expanded powers of secret surveillance, search and seizure and detention conferred upon the federal government by the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act herein opposed are far more likely to have a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas and expression of disagreement with government policy, than to increase public safety;

Threatening Democracy

  • It is generally accepted that unwarranted secrecy is antithetical to a true democracy, and that actions undertaken by secret indictment or process undermine established norms for civil discourse between government and those whom it would govern;
  • The provisions of the Constitution apply in wartime as in peace; and to violate or depart from them, under the plea of necessity or any other plea, is subversive of good government;
  • Our nation has taken its strength from the freedoms guaranteed of all citizens and should lead the world in setting the example of democracy’s ability to protect itself without undue coercion of its citizens or resorting to government secrecy, violation of due process or invasion of privacy;
  • The preservation of civil rights and liberties is a pillar of American society and is essential to the well-being of our republic and its democratic processes, particularly during times of conflict when such rights and liberties, especially those of immigrants and ethnic minorities, may be threatened, intentionally or unintentionally, under false pretense of national security or patriotic zeal;
  • An infringement of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of any person, under the color of law, is an abuse of power, and a breach of the public trust, a misappropriation of public resources, a violation of civil rights and is beyond the scope of governmental authority;

Importance of Libraries

  • Libraries, and specifically the [City] Public Library, are a critical force for promoting the free flow of information, facilitating its distribution and protecting the privacy of those who seek information;

Domestic Terrorism

  • The USA PATRIOT Act creates a new crime of "domestic terrorism," which the Act defines so broadly that it could possibly be applied to a number of legitimate acts of civil disobedience, having the effect of unconstitutionally chilling speech protected under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution while subjecting those who continue to exercise their 1st Amendment rights to invasive surveillance, wiretapping, and harassment;

Lack of Democratic Process

  • On October 26, 2001, President Bush signed into law the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed quickly in the wake of the horrific September 11th terrorist attacks, allowing insufficient time for debate or deliberation regarding the significant changes the Act sought to achieve;

Enemy Combatants/ Military Tribunals

  • The executive order on military tribunals also undermines the U.S. government's ability to denounce human rights violations carried out in secret by military tribunals elsewhere in the world;
  • Executive Orders have allowed the indefinite detention of two American citizens labeled as “enemy combatants” at a South Carolina naval base and many more non-citizens at Guantánamo Naval Base without adequate access to counsel, without the presumption of innocence or even proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and without the right to appeal;

Previous Civil Rights Violations in Times of Increased National Security (pick among bullets)

The historical record of our nation has many examples of the federal government violating the rights of citizens in times of threats to national security including but not limited to the:

  • Palmer raids following WWI
  • Internment of 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • McCarthyism period of the 1950's and FBI and CIA spying programs on citizens involved in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's and 70's
  • Deportation of thousands of Mexican immigrants and Americans of Mexican descent during the 1930s and 1950s;

Constitutional Provisions

  • The United States Constitution guarantees all persons living in the United States fundamental rights including - freedom of religion, speech, assembly and privacy; protection from unreasonable searches and seizures; due process and equal protection to any person; equality before the law and the presumption of innocence; access to counsel in judicial proceedings; and a fair, speedy and public trial;
  • [Location] recognizes the Constitution of the United States as our charter of liberty, and that the Bill of Rights enshrines the fundamental and inalienable rights of Americans, including the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly and privacy;
  • You can include the text of some of the amendments, such as the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, or 14th

Declaration of Independence

  • The Declaration of Independence of the United States holds as “self-evident that all people are created equal and are endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”;

Importance of the Bill of Rights

  • States would not have ratified the Constitution without a Bill of Rights, which enumerated specific restrictions on federal government power;

Inspirational Quotes

  • Thomas Jefferson stated, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism";
  • The authority of government is derived from the consent of the governed;
  • [Location] agrees with Lord Acton in believing “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end”;
  • In Benjamin Franklin's words, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty or Safety";
  • The [Adopting Body] believes that a threat to any one person's Constitutional rights is a threat to the rights of all;

Supremacy of the US Constitution

  • Article VI of the Constitution of the United States clearly states that only laws and treaties "made in pursuance" or in conformity with the Constitution shall be the "supreme law of the land";
  • Each of [Location’s] duly elected public servants has sworn to defend and uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of [State];
  • [Location] believes that any act, enactment, law, or legislation, etc. which denies the State and/or Federal Constitutionally guaranteed Rights of the Citizens should be repealed;
  • Early in our history, in 1803, the Supreme Court ruled in Marbury vs. Madison, that “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void” from their inception;

Separation of Powers Concerns

  • One effect of the USA PATRIOT Act is to lessen the strength of the Judicial and Legislative branches of our government while simultaneously giving nearly unlimited powers to the Executive branch, thereby damaging separation of powers provisions of the US Constitution meant to protect us from tyranny;

International Law Provisions Supporting Individual Rights (pick among bullets)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, states:

  • "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile" Article 9
  • "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him" Article 10
  • "Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense" Article 11.1;

Legislation since the USA PATRIOT Act

  • Legislation has been drafted entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA) (also known as PATRIOT II) which contains numerous new law enforcement and intelligence-gathering powers, which threaten many basic constitutional rights;
  • Parts of PATRIOT II, including an expansion of FBI authority to use national security letters, were included in the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004;

Lack of Local Funding To Implement

  • Municipal government budgets across the nation are strained and these added duties constitute un-funded mandates on cities, police departments, libraries, and universities, that cities cannot financially absorb;

USA PATRIOT Act as Unnecessary to Prevent Terrorism

  • There has been no substantive showing by USA PATRIOT Act sponsors that these fundamental alterations of our civil liberties increase public safety, and subsequent investigation has shown that government powers of access to personal information prior to the events of September 11, 2001 were adequate to prevent the attacks if properly employed, with the resulting information communicated to the appropriate authorities;

Police Policy Supporting Civil Liberties (pick among bullets)

The policy of the [Location] County Sheriff’s [of Chief of Police’s] Office is that:

  • all detentions or stops must be supported by reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed, and that all arrests and searches of person and/or property by officers in [Location] County must be based on a showing of probable cause, as required by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
  • officers shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or religion as a sole basis for establishing reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a basis for requesting consent to search;

Applicable Local Legislation: examples from Oregon, Seattle, and Bloomington

  • The City of Bloomington has a tradition of inclusion and extending protections to all residents as embodied in its Human Rights Ordinance;
  • The State of Oregon is unique in the nation for passing and upholding the following laws recognizing the value of freedom and privacy for its residents: ORS 181.575, protecting the integrity of political, religious and social institutions by prohibiting law enforcement from collecting and maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual or group unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct;
  • Through the "Seattle Police Intelligence Ordinance," the City of Seattle was the first city in the United States to prohibit by law the collection and maintenance of information about the political, religious or social views, associations or constitutionally protected activities of subjects who are neither involved in criminal activity, suspected of involvement in criminal activity, nor charged with involvement in criminal activity;

Pride of Community History and Character

  • Patriots of the town of Brewster, then the North Parish of the town of Harwich, in 1774 joined with other Cape Townsmen to block the opening of the September session of the King’s Courts, Common Pleas and General Sessions, in Barnstable in the first overt resistance on Cape Cod to the Tyranny of King George III;
  • A 1985 City Council resolution declared the City of Cambridge "A Sanctuary City" in which city departments and employees are committed to protect refugees;
  • In 1927, the Charter of the City of Ferndale was established “…to promote the peace, health, safety, contentment and general welfare of all its people…”;
  • The City of Corvallis strives to be a "community that encourages diversity and is free of prejudice, bigotry and hate" (Corvallis 2020 Vision Statement);
  • [Location] has a long and distinguished history of protecting and expanding the civil rights and civil liberties of its residents;
  • U.S. Representatives Sam Farr and Mike Honda voted against the USA PATRIOT Act in Congress [can change the names to Reps in your state who voted against the Act- see the roll call vote];
  • [Location] has a diverse population, including immigrants and students, whose contributions to the community are vital to its economy, culture and civic character;
  • [Location] recognizes the equality of all persons and embraces a population of unique Citizens and non-citizens having diverse ethnic and racial origin and religious beliefs;
  • The [Location] Police Department has undertaken numerous efforts to build police and community trust in its enforcement actions and the USA PATRIOT Act and its related executive orders and regulations as adopted and implemented have the potential to drive a wedge between immigrant communities and the police who protect them;

Operative Clauses

Local Resistance to National Security Letters & Section 215

  • The city supervisor shall prepare guidelines similar to the guidelines drafted by the American Library Association and reflecting any changes based on the reenactment of the USA Patriot Act, in order to educate the employees of the City on how to respond to inquiries from law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and any other government intelligence agency seeking nonpublic information collected and retained by the City.
  • The City of [NAME OF CITY] shall critically examine any NSL that it may receive to determine if compliance would be unlawful and if so, the city shall consider a challenge to the validity of the NSL in court.
  • If the City receives a NSL which contains a statement prohibiting it from disclosing to any person, other than the attorney for the City, that the issuer of the NSL is seeking certain information, the City shall consider challenging the prohibition in court. The City may decide to challenge the prohibition even though it decides not to challenge the validity of the NSL.
  • The City shall examine any 215 order that it may receive to determine if it was lawfully issued, and if it was not, the town shall consider a challenge to the validity of the 215 order in court.
  • If the City receives a 215 order, the City shall consider challenging the prohibition on disclosure in court, after one year has elapsed if such delay mandated under the reenacted Act is determined to be constitutional. The City may decide to challenge the prohibition even though it decides not to challenge the validity of the 215 order.

Balancing Enhanced Security with Protecting Civil Liberties

  • [Location] affirms its strong opposition to terrorism, but also affirms that any efforts to end terrorism not be waged at the expense of the fundamental civil liberties, rights, and freedoms of the people of [Location], the United States, or the world;

Local Action

[Location] and its employees and instrumentalities will (pick among bullets):

  • Remain committed to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all people
  • Avoid discrimination in every function of [Location] government
  • Vigorously uphold the constitutionally protected rights of all persons to peacefully protest and express their political views without any form of governmental interference
  • Preserve residents' freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and privacy; the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures; without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, economic status, marital status, citizenship status, or disability
  • Continue in its outreach and shall educate its citizens on its policies of tolerance and respect for the diversity of its residents
  • Engage in and participate in community dialogue on civil liberties issues, in order to promote the safety and well being of [Location]
  • Urge the [Location] Library to notify patrons that records of the books and other materials borrowed from that library and Internet usage there, may be obtained by federal agents without informing the patron pursuant to section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act
  • Urge public schools and institutions of higher learning within [Location] to provide notice to individuals whose education records have been obtained by law enforcement agents pursuant to section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  • Urge all state and local government agencies in [City, County or State], and each person and business entity that receives a request to cooperate in the electronic surveillance of a person within the United States to obtain an assurance from the state or federal government agency making the request that it is lawful under FISA or applicable provisions of the federal criminal code;
  • Request the Attorney General of [Name of State] to assist, and if needed, intervene on behalf of, any person in [Name of State] who is asked to cooperate in the electronic surveillance of a person within the United States without receiving an assurance that the request is lawful under FISA or applicable provisions of the federal criminal code law;

No [Location] resources, including law enforcement funds and educational administrative resources, may be used for unconstitutional activities in whatever manner or under whatever circumstances they may be presented;

To the extent legally possible location employees or instrumentalities may not (pick among bullets):

  • Officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures that are in violation of individuals' civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the United States Constitution;
  • Use state, county, or city resources or institutions for the enforcement of federal immigration matters, which are the responsibility of the federal government;
  • Collect or maintain information about the political, religious, or social views, associations, or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business, or partnership, unless the information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities based on probable cause, not mere suspicion, of criminal conduct
  • Engage in racial, religious, or ethnic profiling nor use national origin or any other identifiable characteristic(s) as factors in selecting individuals or groups to target for investigation except when race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin is part of the description of a specific suspect;

Congressional Action (pick among bullets)

[Adopting body] calls upon our United States Representative and Senators to

  • Monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act and related federal actions and, if necessary, repeal those sections of the USA PATRIOT Act and related federal measures that may infringe upon fundamental rights and liberties as recognized in the United States Constitution and its amendments
  • Allow the sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT to expire
  • Oppose any pending and future federal legislation that unjustly infringe on our civil rights and liberties
  • Require the Inspector Generals for the DHS and DOJ investigate civil rights violations and report to the Congress on the results of such investigations;
  • Reaffirm that Congress did not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens in authorizing military action in Afghanistan (Senate Joint Resolution 23, 107th Congress, September 14, 2001);
  • Thoroughly review and make recommendations concerning the intelligence oversight process;
  • Ensure that all proceedings are open to the public and conducted in a fashion that will provide a clear and credible account to the people of the United States, except to the extent the Congress determines that any portions of such proceedings must be closed to prevent the disclosure of classified or other protected information;
  • Initiate action to repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006;

Executive Action (pick among bullets)

[Adopting body] calls upon the United States Executive Branch, its various representatives and employees, to

  • Act in a fair, open and consistent manner by ensuring that all individuals are afforded their appropriate rights to due process
  • Report to Congress and to citizens the extent and manner in which they have acted under the USA PATRIOT ACT and counter-terrorism Executive Orders and regulations
  • Disclose the names of all detainees, and expeditiously release them, repatriate them, or bring them to trial before a court constituted under Article III of the U.S. Constitution;
  • Abide by the limitations which the Constitution imposes on a president and the U.S. system of checks and balances;
  • Respect the essential roles of the Congress and the judicial branch in ensuring that our national security is protected in a manner consistent with Constitutional guarantees;
  • Ensure that the House and Senate and fully and currently informed of all intelligence operations as required by the National Security Act of 1947

Private Action (pick among bullets)

[Adopting Body] calls upon all private citizens to

  • Demonstrate strong respect for civil rights and civil liberties;
  • Read and familiarize themselves with the USA PATRIOT Act, and to join us in relaying all questions, comments, and concerns to the [State] congressional delegation and Department of Justice for their response and clarification;
  • Study, for understanding, the state and U.S. Constitutions and their history, and the Bill of Rights and its history, so that they can recognize and resist attempts to undermine our constitutional republic and our system of government;

Monitoring

See Takoma Park (MD) Resolution.

Ethnic Minority Issues

[Location] affirms its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based solely on their country of origin;

Libraries

  • [Adopting Body] requests that the office of the [State] Attorney General offer legal support to any public library which is subject to a federal suit or administrative enforcement action for refusing to comply with the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act related to library patrons’ records;
  • Public libraries must post in a prominent place within the library a notice as follows:

"WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. This law also prohibits librarians from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you. Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530”;

Support for Judicial Challenges

[Location] supports the efforts of individuals and organizations who have challenged various provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act in Federal and State courts;

Manner of Legislative Enactment (required)

Copies of this resolution shall be sent to (pick among bullets)

  • The President of the United States
  • The Attorney General of the United States
  • Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
  • The Governor of [State]
  • Each member of the [State] delegation in Congress;

This Resolution will take effect immediately upon passage;The provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any portion of this Resolution is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to the Constitutions of the United States or of [state name], the validity of the remainder of this Resolution shall not be affected thereby;

Other Resources

Sample resolution
Guide to Writing an Effective Resolution