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Issue Position: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

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Learning first-hand what it means to grow up in poverty, I believe that all Americans should be afforded an equal opportunity to succeed in America. I support the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2007 and believe we should expand opportunities in jobs, health care benefits and education.

Regarding civil liberties, while we do all we can to keep America safe, we need to be even more vigilant that we not restrict the civil liberties of those within our borders who every day go about their business, abide by the laws of the land, and contribute economically and otherwise to the well-being of America. We need to take special care that we not impinge upon the right of expression and the right of assembly by those who might have concerns about how the Bush administration is pursuing its mistaken policies in Iraq and other areas of the world. And, as George Bush himself said soon after 9/11, we need to be sure that we do not blame whole communities of believers or nationalities for the misdeeds of a few.

I also believe it is important that we guarantee full civil rights and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Finally, I agree with Senator Arlen Specter that it appears that George Bush broke the law when he skirted the 1978 Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act by refusing to go to a FISA court within 72 hours of tapping phone calls of U.S. citizens with suspected terrorists. This breach of the public trust and possible significant violation of the civil liberties of American citizens is deeply disturbing and a full congressional investigation of the Bush administration activities is needed. I support the efforts of Congressman John Conyers, Jr. to investigate whether these actions constitute impeachable offenses.


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