Here’s the current draft-in-progress for our Fall 2009 open letter — a combination of excerpts from letters Nancy, Lois, and Sally wrote, along with a few points from our discusson on last Tuesday’s phone call and a quote from his previous letter to us. There are several excellent comments on the wiki with various suggestions that we still need to incorporate — please check them out, and jump into the discussions, or leave your opinions here on the blog.
Dear President Obama,
With FISA reform once again in Congress, we’d like to take the opportunity to continue our dialog.
In July 2008, in your response to our previous open letter, you committed to have your Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in. You also told us of your intent as President to run “a White House that takes the Constitution seriously, conducts the peoples’ business out in the open, welcomes and listens to dissenting views, and asks you to play your part in shaping our country’s destiny.”
We have a hard time seeing how your administration’s work behind the scenes with Senator Sessions to weaken privacy and civil liberties protections during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Patriot Act reform manifest this commitment. In the courts, too, your administration’s repeated backing of Bush Administration arguments for hiding information is troubling.
We urge you to live up to the stated goals of your campaign and avoid continuing the horrific practices of the previous administration. You have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and we had every reason to believe that as a professor of Constitutional law, you would honor that pledge. Please, do not betray our trust.We ask you to …
Please, Senator Obama, reject the politics of fear on national security, and take the lead in restoring our Constitutional rights.
Hmm. Just what do we want him to do?
PS: Other feedback welcome too, of course!