Resolution in Support of
our Constitutional Rights
and Opposing the USA Patriot Act
and its Assault on our Civil Liberties
adopted by the City of Fairfax,
January 7, 2003
WHEREAS, the Town of Fairfax is concerned
with the security of the nation and the protection of our civil
and political rights and liberties.
WHEREAS, the Town of Fairfax is governed
by the Constitution of the State of California and the Constitution
of the United States and affirms the U.S. Constitution and its
Bill of Rights as the foundation of our democracy.
WHEREAS, every member of the Town Council
of Fairfax took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United
States against all enemies foreign and domestic.
WHEREAS, there is a growing movement across
the country to oppose the USA Patriot Act and any federal legislation
and executive orders which violate the rights and liberties enumerated
in the Constitution of the United States; and 19 cities, including
Berkeley, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Sebastopol in the San Francisco
Bay Area, have already passed resolutions instructing local officials
and law enforcement agencies not to comply with any federal measures
which violate our constitutionally protected rights and liberties.
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence
of the United States holds as self-evident that all people are
created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, among
which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
WHEREAS, the residents of the Town of
Fairfax recognize that the diversity of our population adds to
the vitality, strength and character of our community.
WHEREAS, the First Amendment of the United
States Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances."
WHEREAS, the Fourth Amendment of the United
States Constitution states: "The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by
oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to
be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
WHEREAS, the Fifth Amendment of the United
States Constitution states that "no person...shall be compelled
in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
WHEREAS, the Sixth Amendment of the United
States Constitution guarantees defendants "the right to a
speedy and public trial by an impartial jury," the right
"to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,"
the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him,"
and the right "to have the assistance of counsel for his
WHEREAS, the Eighth Amendment of the United
States Constitution states: "excessive bail shall not be
required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments
WHEREAS, THE Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution states: "...nor shall any State
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws."
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Rights in
the California Constitution guarantees the same fundamental rights
enumerated in the United States Constitution.
WHEREAS, according to Article VI of the
United States Constitution, all treaties entered into by the United
States are "the supreme law of the land."
WHEREAS, Article 9 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the United
States Senate in 1992, states:
* "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
arrest or detention."
* "Anyone who is arrested shall be
informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest
and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him."
* "Anyone arrested or detained on
a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or
other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and
shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or release."
* "Anyone who is deprived of his
liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings
before a court, in order that court may decide without delay on
the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention
is not lawful."
WHEREAS, Article 9 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United
Nations in 1948, states: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
arrest, detention or exile."
WHEREAS, Article 10 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights states: "Everyone is entitled in full equality
to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal,
in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any
criminal charge against him."
WHEREAS, Article 11.1 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone charged with
a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved
guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had
all the guarantees necessary for his defense." .
WHEREAS, we believe that all the rights
and liberties cited above, which are the foundation of our democracy,
are directly threatened by the USA Patriot Act, which:
* Chills our First Amendment rights of
freedom of speech, political association and political protest
by overly broad definitions of terrorism contained in Section
802 of the Act.
*Greatly expands the ability of federal
agents to conduct secret searches ("sneak and peak searches")
of our homes and places of employment as authorized in Section
* Grants the executive branch unprecedented
and largely unchecked surveillance powers: including enhanced
ability to track Email and Internet usage; obtain sensitive medical,
mental health, financial and educational records; and monitor
telephone calls, library usage and books purchased--all without
evidence of a crime and without a court order. (Sections 215,
* Strips immigrants of Constitutional
protections which has led to the mass roundups of thousands of
Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, many of whom have been detained
without charges for lengthy periods of time without legal representation.
* Confers vast and unchecked powers to
the executive branch which threatens the balance of powers enshrined
in the United States Constitution among the executive, judicial
and legislative branches.
WHEREAS, we further believe that all the
rights and liberties cited above are endangered by Federal Executive
* Establish secret military tribunals
* Permit wiretapping of conversations
between federal prisoners and their lawyers.
* Lift Justice Department regulations
against illegal COINTELPRO-type operations by the FBI (covert
activities which in the past targeted domestic groups and individuals
engaged in lawful political activities).
* Limit the disclosure of public documents
and records under the Freedom of Information Act.
WHEREAS, we believe all the rights and
liberties cited above are also endangered by the Homeland Security
Act which violates fundamental principles of open and accountable
* Exemption from the disclosure requirements
of the Freedom of Information Act, thereby drastically limiting
the agency's responsibility to answer public questions and concerns.
* Empowering the Secretary of the new
agency to waive the safeguards contained in the Federal Whistleblower
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: (1) The
Town of Fairfax shall communicate in writing to President George
Walker Bush, Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Representative
Lynn Woolsey its desire that they work to repeal the USA Patriot
Act and any and all provisions of federal legislation and executive
orders that violate the fundamental rights and liberties embodied
in the United States Constitution, the California Constitution,
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(2) All Town of Fairfax officials and
the Town of Fairfax police / sheriff, to the extent legally possible,
shall refrain from enforcement of the provisions of the acts and
executive orders cited above which are in violation of our constitutional
rights or international law.
(3) The Town of Fairfax officials and
the Town of Fairfax police, to the extent legally possible, shall
preserve Town of Fairfax residents' rights of freedom of speech,
religion, assembly, privacy and lawful political protest; shall
preserve their rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings
and their right to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures;
and shall refrain from racial profiling and detentions without
charges in the fulfillment of their law enforcement responsibilities.
(4) The Town of Fairfax clerk shall send
copies of this resolution to the President of the United States,
our two senators and our representative in the United States Congress,
the Attorney General of the United States, the local U.S. Attorney's
office and the Attorney General of California.
David Glick - author