District of Columbia Community Resolution

March 9, 2004

A RESOLUTION

Make a Difference

Your support helps the ACLU stand up for human rights and defend civil liberties.

Give Now

IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

To declare the sense of the Council regarding certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001 an to urge Congress to enact legislation to modify the act and certain other enactments that may undermine fundamental civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

            RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this resolution my be cited as the ""Sense of the Council in Support of Protection of Civil Liberties Resolution of 2004.""

            Sec. 2 The Council finds that:

(1)   The diversity of the population of the District of Columbia is vital to our community's character.

(2)   The District of Columbia has a tradition of protecting and expanding human rights and civil liberties protection for all its residents, including non-citizens and immigrants, and it takes pride in being among the first jurisdiction to provide broad anti-discrimination protection through its enactment of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. law 2-38; D.C. Official Code §2-1401.01 et seq.).

(3)   The United States Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights including freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and privacy, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, due process and equal protection, equality before the law, the presumption of innocence, access to council in judicial proceedings, and the right to a fair, speedy, public trial.  All levels of government have a responsibility to protect these constitutional rights as well as protect the public from terrorism.

(4)   There is no inherent conflict between preservation of liberty and the need to protect the public.  All security measures taken to enhance can, and must, do so without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties.  

Sec. 3. It is the sense of the Council that:

(1)   The USA Patriot Act of 2001, approved October 26, 2001 (Pub. Law No. 107-56; 115 Stat. 272) (""USA Patriot Act""), along with certain other measures implemented by the executive branch of the federal government after September 11, 2001, was enacted in reaction to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, without adequate consideration of provisions that undermine civil liberties.

(2)   It is necessary that the District expresses its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that unnecessarily infringe upon civil liberties, its support for the rights of immigrants and its opposition to measures that single out individuals for scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin or religion.  

(3)   Members of congress should support and enact legislation to modify the provisions of the USA Patriot Act and other enactments, such as executive orders and federal regulations, that threaten to undermine the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.  

(4)   The White House should establish a bipartisan panel to review how constitutional guarantees would by affected by all new laws and regulations aimed at enhancing national security as recommended by the Gilmore Commission.

(5)   Except as requested by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, by lawful directive by the federal government, by order of a court, or by the laws and regulation of the District of Columbia, no agency or employee of the government of the District of Columbia shall divulge information or records, including educational, medical, financial, or library records, pertaining to an individual.

(6)   Public libraries shall post in a prominent place within the library a notice that reads as follows: WARNING: Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents.  The Patriot Act prohibits librarians from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you.; and

(7)   Public schools and public institutions of higher learning shall provide notice to individuals whose educational records have been obtained by law enforcement officers pursuant to section 507 of the USA Patriot Act.

(8)   The Metropolitan Police Department shall refrain from: 

a.       Utilizing racial, religious, ethnic, or national profiling as a factor in selecting which individuals to subject to investigatory activities, except when seeking to apprehend a specific suspect whose race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin is part of the description of the subject;

b.      Engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups based on participation in activities protected by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, such as political advocacy or the practice of religion, without particularized suspicion of criminal activity;

c.       Collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious, or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership, that could not reasonably connected to a security threat; and 

d.      Stopping drivers or pedestrians for the purpose of scrutinizing their identification documents without a particularized security threat.

Sec. 4.  The Secretary Council shall transmit a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, the President Pro-Tempore of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Attorney General, and the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia.

Sec. 5.  This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Columbia Register.

Statistics image