COUNTY OF MERCER, NEW JERSEY
RESOL UTION NO. 2004-534
Approved as to Form and Legality: Board Counsel
Date: September 9, 2004
RESOLUTION ADVOCATING THE RESPECT OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF
MERGER COUNTY WITH REGARD TO THE U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT AND REQUESTING A
FULL RE-EXAMINATION OF THE U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT'S CONSTITUTIONALITY
WHEREAS, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, increased security is necessary to protect the American people, to attempt to thwart further terrorist attacks, and to effectively wage a campaign against terrorism; and,
WHEREAS, it is essential that, in providing such increased security, governmental agencies undertake only such security measures that are reasonable and necessary and do not undermine the fundamental rights and liberties that make this nation unique and great, such as freedom of speech religion, and assembly, the right to privacy, due process and equal protection of law, and the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures; and,
WHEREAS, the Freeholder Board is concerned about the extent that the USA Patriot Act (P.L. 107-56) may threaten such fundamental rights and liberties as are embodied in the Constitution of the United States and the amendments thereunto; and,
WHEREAS, examples of the Patriot Act's potential threat fundamental rights include-the Government's expanded power to telephone, Internet and other telecommunications surveillance w judicial supervision; grant law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to sensitive medical, mental health, financial and educational records with little judicial oversight; expand the government's ability to conduct se individuals' homes and businesses, including monitoring what books are bought from bookstores or borrowed from libraries; limit the disclosure documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act; and permit indefinite detention of immigrants and other non-citizens; and,
WHEREAS, the Patriot Act was adopted in haste following September 11, 2001, without public hearings, or a Congressional ""mark-up""; and it would be appropriate and beneficial, in considering reauthorization, to scrutinize evaluate the provisions of the Act closely in the context of its en implementation to date; and,
WHEREAS, the Mercer County Board of Freeholders recognizes that a threat to any one person's Constitutional rights is a threat to the rights of all; and
WHEREAS, the Patriot Act is, or soon will be, reconsidered by Congress for possible reauthorization and to determine whether various sunset provisions contained therein should be eliminated or retained; and,
WHEREAS, over 325 communities, including Princeton Borough, Ewing Township, and Lawrence Township in Mercer County, and four representing nearly 52 million people throughout the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the fact of government policies that threaten these values; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, that:
1. The Board of Freeholders reaffirms its support for increased security to be executed in a fashion that preserves and protects our citizenry, but also reaffirms its conviction that such security must not be provided would unduly and unnecessarily infringe upon the constitutional and other rights and liberties of the people who reside in the United States, including immigrants, but must be executed in a fashion that preserves and reaffirms these rights and liberties as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
2. The Board of Freeholders is concerned about the enforcement and implementation to date of the USA Patriot Act and its impacts upon such rights and liberties are concerned.
3. The Board of Freeholders reaffirms its opposition to measures of this Act that single out any individual for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on his or her country of origin, ethnicity, race, religion or immigration status, except when otherwise required by law.
4. The Board of Freeholders accordingly:
(a) Calls upon the government of the United States, an of each and every state and the political subdivisions then enforcing or when called upon to enforce the USA Patriot Act and any other law or regulation dealing with security, to respect individual rights and not intrude upon the fundamental rights and liberties of all people in Mercer County and the rest of the United States.
(b) Calls upon our Congressional Representatives and allow all provisions of the USA Patriot Act with a sunset that sunset date; (ii) to thoroughly scrutinize and evaluate the Act, the record of enforcement and implementation of and any such similar proposed legislation through the public hearing process; and (iii) to support the revocation of any provision of the Act that violates the Constitution of the United States of America.
(c) Requests all Mercer County agencies and the Mercer Library System to observe and affirm the Constitution of t of America and the Constitution of New Jersey and thereby to challenge through appropriate and lawful means any request made u of the USA Patriot Act or otherwise, if the County agency believes the request to be in violation of the Constitution States of American or of New Jersey.
(d) Directs the Clerk to the Freeholder Board to communicate this Resolution to all other County Boards of Freeholders, to all elected representatives of the County of Mercer in the New Jersey Legislature, in the United States Congress and in the United States Senate, to the Governor of the State of New Jersey and Attorney General of the State of New Jersey to the United States Attorney General, to the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and to the President of the United States.
Clerk to the Board