The Nation’s John Nichols on Ron Paul:
Conservatives for the Constitution
7:56 am on April 6, 2007
Email James Ostrowski
Just imagine if one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination endorsed this radical agenda:
• End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.
• Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.
• Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.
• Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.
• End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.
• Empower Congress to challenge presidential signing statements.
• Bar executive use of the state secret privilege to deny justice.
• Prohibit the President from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain of torture persons abroad.
• Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.
• Prohibit of the labeling of groups or individuals in the U.S. as global terrorists based on secret evidence.
The American Freedom Agenda campaign is the vehicle that these conservatives have established, with a self-described twofold mission: “the enactment of a cluster of statutes that would restore the Constitution’s checks and balances as enshrined by the Founding Fathers; and, making the subject a staple of political campaigns and of foremost concern to Members of Congress and to voters and educators. Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law. The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence.”
The agenda was launched two weeks ago. So far, one candidate has expressed support it: Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican who explains that: “[They] say that the executive branch is always hungry. That’s why it’s up to the people, up to the congress to reign in the power of the executive branch.”
Paul’s right to sign on. The question now is whether any Democratic presidential contenders will join him in doing so.