The first words of the US Constitution make it clear whom our government was established to serve: We the People. Our Constitution enshrines checks and balances to prevent abuses of power, and our Bill of Rights limits government in order to guarantee fundamental rights and liberties for all Americans.Today, our country’s national security policies undermine those crucial limits on executive power. The Executive Branch has extended its authority to an extreme reminiscent, to some, of the countries our nation opposed in the Cold War. Meanwhile, Congress has essentially abdicated its constitutional responsibility to check the Executive Branch. Finally, while federal courts have occasionally vindicated some basic principles, the Supreme Court has more frequently supported expansions of executive power, compromising judicial independence.
What can we do?
Fighting a series of struggles against each new high-profile abuse fragments our movement. It is time to unite, across demographic and ideological divisions, to build a transpartisan, diverse, national movement to confront the common source of these problems. Ultimately, we need to hold our elected representatives accountable to their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, rather than the power structure in Washington, DC.
Goals of the People's Campaign for the Constitution
- Build a grassroots movement to bring Bill of Rights issues into a sharp national focus. This will include demanding changes to and/or repeal of the following:
- The USA PATRIOT Act;
- The Military Commissions Act;
- The 2008 FISA Amendments Act;
- The 2008 Mukasey FBI Guidelines; and
- the expansion of executive power, and related executive orders, policies, procedures, and administrative actions.
- Strengthen existing coalitions formed to pass local laws to protect civil liberties and raise rights above the federal floor.
- Form new coalitions to hold public officials accountable for restoring civil liberties and constitutional protections.
- Harness the collective power of people and organizations already working on civil rights campaigns and the many more allies who would take action if they saw the potential for making positive change.
- Raise popular expectations of legislators about their obligation to protect and defend the Constitution, rather than an institutional establishment.
- Provide tools and support to assist local grassroots coalitions as they organize around the country to build support for constitutional rights.