“In the 1880s, people all over the world looked to America for inspiration. Its very existence was proof that it was possible to have a relatively free and peaceful country. No income tax, no foreign wars, no welfare state, no intrusions on civil liberties.” – Harry Browne
“I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” – Edward Snowden
Among the hallmarks of America’s heritage of freedom is the recognition and protection of civil liberties. Stretching all the way back to Magna Carta in 1215, it is a heritage that is enshrined in both the Constitution and the first ten amendments to it, the Bill of Rights.
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to petition our government for redress of grievances, habeas corpus, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right not to be executed or have our liberty or property taken away from us without due process of law, the right to a speedy trial, the right of trial by jury, the right to effective assistance of counsel, the right to confront witnesses, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments – All this is what it means to be an American.
Unfortunately, however, the federal government, in the name of “keeping us safe” in its “war on terror,” has seen fit to infringe on many of these critically important rights. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have engaged in indefinite detention, torture, assassination, and secret surveillance without warrants. They have denied speedy trials, used military tribunals instead of federal courts, admitted hearsay evidence and evidence acquired by torture, and denied effective assistance of counsel. These are the hallmarks of totalitarian regimes. They have no place in a free society.
As a US Senator, I would be committed to upholding the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. I want to restore civil liberties to the American people.