Civil liberties are so foundational to America that the first eight amendments to the Constitution address them directly. These amendments enshrine government's duty to protect individual liberties, including the rights to free speech and free association.
But today, government has created for itself sweeping powers to monitor the private lives of individuals and otherwise intrude upon our daily activities, our households and our businesses. The extent of the government's reach today would be unrecognizable to the Founders.
Much of the recent erosion in civil liberties has occurred in the name of national security. But we can -- and must -- combat threats to our safety while adhering to due process and the rule of law.
#1 End the assault on privacy
THE FREEDOMS ON WHICH AMERICA WAS FOUNDED are now under attack from the very people charged with protecting and upholding them.
The PATRIOT Act should be repealed, which would restore proper judicial oversight to federal investigations and again require federal investigators to prove probable cause prior to executing a search.
Habeas corpus should be respected entirely, requiring the government to either charge incarcerated individuals with a crime or release them.
The TSA should take a risk-based approach to airport security. Only high-risk individuals should be subjected to invasive pat-downs and full-body scans.
The TSA should not have a monopoly on airport security. Airports and airlines should be encouraged to seek the most effective methods for screening travelers, including private sector screeners. Screeners outside of government can be held fully accountable for their successes and failures.
#2 Government must be neutral on personal beliefs
WE ARE A NATION OF MANY PEOPLES and beliefs. The only way to respect all citizens is to allow each to make personal decisions themselves.
Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.
Stem cell research should only be completed by private laboratories that operate without federal funding.
Government should not impose its values upon marriage. It should allow marriage equality, including gay marriage. It should also protect the rights of religious organizations to follow their beliefs.