ACLU of Massachusetts Convenes Emergency Town Meeting on Domestic Spying and the Rule of Law

January 30, 2006 12:00 am

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BOSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts will host an Emergency Town Meeting on the Bush Administration’s Domestic Spying Program tonight at Faneuil Hall — on the eve of the President’s State of the Union address and the proposed vote to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.

“The topic of this meeting is the threat to citizens’ privacy created by the Bush’s Administration’s secret surveillance program,” said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “But the larger question for all Americans: how will we preserve and defend the rule of law in the face of a President who asserts that he is above it?”

The ACLU and a coalition of organizations and individuals are suing the NSA to stop the warrantless spying on Americans authorized by President Bush.

“The prohibition against government eavesdropping on American citizens is well-established and crystal clear,” said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson, who is lead counsel in ACLU v. NSA and will be a featured speaker at the emergency town meeting. “President Bush’s claim that he is not bound by the law is simply astounding. Our democratic system depends on the rule of law, and not even the president can issue illegal orders that violate Constitutional principles.”

In addition to Beeson, the program will feature Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) and Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C.

“It’s time to debunk the myth that the President has the power to set aside laws passed by Congress whenever he sees fit,” said Rose. “The NSA’s warrantless surveillance must end and checks and balances be restored.”

The event will launch a statewide citizens’ campaign to Restore the Rule of Law, opposing government policies of unlawful domestic surveillance, kidnapping, rendition, torture, secret prisons and “ghost detainees.”

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