30 December 2008

The First 100 Days.

Over the last eight years, the Bush administration has systematically dismantled some of the most important rights and protections in the United States Constitution. In the first 100 days of office, the next president can, often with the stroke of a pen, restore, protect, and expand the fundamental rights on which our nation was founded. It is up to all of us to see that he does.

The Center for Constitutional Rights' 100 Days Campaign focuses on the harm done by previous administrations and the hopes we have for making the country a better place for all.

Over the last eight years, the Bush administration set out to dismantle our most important constitutional protections and showed deep disregard for international and domestic law. CCR is here to stand in its way. In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a resounding affirmation of the Constitution in Boumediene v. Bush. Even as we prepare to move forward on this victory for our clients, we have launched a new media and educational campaign titled Beyond Guantanamo: Restore the Constitution.

This is a sustained effort to neutralize the Bush legacy and restore the Constitution. As part of the project, we've created the 100 Days campaign, outlinling ways the new president can restore, protect and exapnd our fundamental rights in his first 100 days in office.

Use this link to download the overview brochure, or view the issue areas below to learn more.


From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, from secret CIA “black sites” to proxy detention in other countries that torture, the U.S. has created a system of illegal detentions and justified the use of torture with direct approval from the highest levels of government.

To ensure they could operate with impunity, they tried to twist the law to strip habeas corpus, to redefine the meaning of the word torture, to keep their deeds out of view of the courts and the public, and to create sham proceedings as window dressing.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...

  • Close Guantanamo and resettle Guantanamo’s refugees safely in a country where they do not risk persecution or torture.
  • End torture and issue an executive order prohibiting the use of torture.
  • Close all secret detention sites and CIA “black sites.”
  • End the use of extraordinary rendition and launch a DOJ investigation into its use.
  • End the use in any court of evidence obtained through torture.
  • Officially reject all the legal memos, executive orders and signing statements that justify the use of torture.

The government has found alternative ways to hold people indefinitely without charge, sometimes simply because they believe the person might do something in the future. They have used immigration detention to target certain groups based on racial or religious profiling, abused federal grand jury conspiracy charges, and held activists on the vague charge of “material support.”

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...

  • Appoint officials who will not abuse the material witness statute, immigration law, grand juries, and conspiracy charges to suppress dissenters.
  • Pledge to veto any legislation creating preventive detention or national security courts as alternatives to the existing criminal justice system.
  • Work to repeal repressive legislation like the Patriot Act and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

Increasingly, political dissent is treated as terrorism. Material support laws that criminalize speech and political activity, the Patriot Act, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and the Homegrown Terrorism Act all allow the government to target activists and stifle dissent.

Joint Terrorism Task Forces encourage large-scale stop-and-frisk nets; special registration and massive immigration roundups target entire communities; anti-war groups are infiltrated by government agents; and a sweeping new DNA database takes samples from anyone who is arrested, regardless of conviction.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...

  • Work to repeal the Patriot Act and other repressive legislation.
  • Make the FBI strictly adhere to surveillance guidelines and repeal new surveillance guidelines that allow increased surveillance of activists.
  • End ICE raids and the federalization of law enforcement.
  • Open DOJ investigations into related government misconduct.

The Bush administration illegally invaded Iraq, occupies Afghanistan and has threatened Iran, Syria and Venezuela. It has abused the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) and, like many administrations before it, ignored certain Constitutional and international law requirements before attacking another nation.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...

  • Withdraw from Iraq and end the occupation.
  • Work to amend the War Powers Act to explicitly prohibit Executive acts of war without previous Congressional authorization.
  • End abuse of the AUMF.


Secrecy and evasion have been the hallmarks of the Bush administration. They have classified more documents than any administration in history, restricted responses to FOIA requests, and argued to extend privilege to protect government officials and military contractors from being held liable for illegal actions like torture and wrongful death. Again and again, they have invoked the State Secrets privilege to avoid scrutiny in court, oversight, and legal responsibility for their actions.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...
  • Investigate, prosecute, and hold criminal trials to expose the crimes carried out by officials and contractors.
  • Propose new State Secrets legislation that creates a mechanism for civil courts to hear classified matters.
  • Issue new executive orders that reverse Bush’s expansion of the State Secrets privilege and over-classification of documents.
  • Work with Congress to pass legislation making it clear military contractors are accountable for their abuses.

It used to be true that for the government to spy on people in the U.S. it had to get a warrant. In cases involving an international party, they went before the FISA court, which almost never refused a request and even granted requests retroactively, allowing the government to begin spying immediately and ask permission later. Not content, Bush issued a secret executive order in 2002 authorizing the NSA to wiretap Americans without a warrant, using the AUMF as justification. After the program was exposed, the administration secured immunity from Congress for the telecommunications companies that participated.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...
  • Work to repeal the Patriot Act, FISA Amendments Act, and telecom immunity.
  • Repudiate Bush executive orders supporting warrantless wiretapping and the legal opinions used to support them.
  • Pledge to end all secret surveillance programs not reviewed by either the courts or Congressional committees.

The last eight years have seen an unprecedented expansion of executive power. Presidential signing statements on legislation passed by Congress invalidated the separation of powers and created an unauthorized line item veto. The so-called Unitary Executive theory, the “War on Terror” paradigm, immunity, impunity and lawlessness—all destroyed the balance of power in a coordinated assault on the Constitution.

President Obama must repudiate the crimes of the past and be a guardian of our existing rights: abortion rights, racial justice, protection from government spying, and all the rest. But he must also expand the Constitution to address health care, housing, economic rights, and much, much more.

In the first 100 days of his administration, President Obama must act to ...
  • Repudiate the “unitary” presidency.
  • Renounce the use of signing statements to alter legislation.
  • Appoint officials and judges who will uphold the Constitution in all respects.
  • Recognize and respect international law and join the International Criminal Court.


Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

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