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This Week in Civil Liberties

From President Obama's Twitter Town Hall to a contested execution.
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July 8, 2011

President Obama’s Twitter Town Hall was a big news item this week. We had a few of our own questions for the president — unfortunately, he didn’t get around to answering them. But an interesting tidbit: Raw Story reported that questions about marijuana legalization were the most retweeted of any questions directed at the president, and he didn’t address the issue at all. Which is disappointing, because as we pointed out last week, his administration’s drug policy — specifically on medical marijuana — is confusing and cruel.

Obama DOJ Leaves Medical Marijuana Patients Sick and Suffering
Last week, the Obama Justice Department released a new memo regarding the administration’s position on medical marijuana. Those who are in pain, sick and even dying won’t be prosecuted for using the drug in compliance with their state’s medical marijuana laws, but the growers and distributors of medical marijuana who provide patients with much-needed pain relief: they’re fair game.

Honor Those Who Opposed Torture
If you’re like us and you frequent blogs like Firedoglake, The Nation, and Daily Kos, you might’ve seen our new ad campaign promoting the New York Times‘ endorsement of our Honor Courage campaign. This campaign calls on the Obama administration to honor those who opposed the Bush administration’s immoral torture policies.

Today, none other than Nat Hentoff (one of my personal civil liberties heroes!) opined on the Cato blog about the campaign, writing: “So now, President Obama, how can you not — addressing We the People and the world — publicly honor these brave, forgotten patriots who insisted, and still do, on fighting for the values that distinguish Americans from much of the rest of the world?”

Execution in Texas, Despite So Much
Last night, despite opposition from the Obama administration, the U.N., former diplomats and Justice department officials and the country of Mexico, the state of Texas executed Humberto Leal Garcia. Garcia was a Mexican national who was tried, convicted and sentenced to die in the state of Texas without ever being given access to the Mexican consulate. Leal’s execution flies in the face of international treaties by which we are all bound, and it poses a real danger to the many Americans travelling abroad who have always counted on the American embassy for legal assistance.

MIA: Missing in America
As we celebrated this country’s independence last Monday, the veterans who defended this country are fighting for basic health care in Southern California.

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