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He Says Tomato. We Say No, Seriously…That's Unconstitutional.

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December 5, 2008

Stuart Taylor at the National Journal has some strong opinions on how President-elect Obama should tackle national security issues. So does the ACLU. It turns out we’re not exactly on the same page.

Allow me to shoot down a few of Taylor’s proposals. First up is group profiling. To advocate for profiling is to begin sliding down a perilously slippery slope, concerning both individual rights and national security. The practice alienates entire segments of the American public and has even been shunned by law enforcement professionals as ineffective. Well, bad news: that’s been proven useless too. Check out this report financed by DHS (and our release praising it).

Like Mr. Taylor, we are not national security experts but we are experts on the laws upon which this country was founded. You have to ask yourself this: who wins when we pit the Constitution against hypothetical threats? America was never meant to be a country that kidnapped, detained, surveilled, nor tortured. The threat that many choose to ignore is the threat to our ideals and national identity. The past eight years of horrific national security policy are a reflection of just that. Now, with a new Congress and new president, we get a shot to repair that damage (psst – here’s how we’d do it).

It’s true that the ACLU will be just as tough on President Obama as we were on President Bush. That’s exactly our job. The Constitution is not a suicide pact as Mr. Taylor states, but we’d argue that neither is it collateral damage.

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