A Resolution for the Town of Swampscott, Massachusetts Regarding the USA PATRIOT Act and the Protection of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
Adopted: May 18, 2004. Majority Vote.
WHEREAS United States law is founded in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights; and that these historic documents enshrine the fundamental and inalienable rights of Americans, including the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly and privacy; and
WHEREAS: Swampscott is a politically diverse and democratic community whose residents are committed to preserving the human rights and civil liberties enunciated in these founding documents; and
WHEREAS the Town of Swampscott has with gratitude for their supreme sacrifice memorialized those in the Armed Forces who have died in battle protecting these same cherished rights and liberties; and
WHEREAS each of the Town of Swampscott's duly elected public servants has sworn to defend and uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
WHEREAS the Town of Swampscott denounces and condemns all acts of terrorism, wherever occurring; and
WHEREAS attacks against Americans such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, have necessitated the crafting of effective laws to protect the public from terrorist attacks; and
WHEREAS any new security measures of federal, state, and local governments should be carefully designed and employed to enhance public safety without infringing on the civil liberties and rights of the citizens of the Town of Swampscott; and
WHEREAS certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, also known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, allow the federal government more liberally to detain and Investigate citizens and engage in surveillance activities that may violate the rights and liberties guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions;
We believe the USA PATRIOT Act:
· Replaced a system of checks and balances with executive branch decisions.
· Expands a Court (the FISA Court) outside the judicial branch of government;
· Limits judicial supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance;
· Expands the government's ability to conduct secret searches;
· Grants government broad access to personal medical, mental health, financial, and educational records without the traditional need to show probable cause;
· Gives the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups as ""terrorist organizations"" and
· Creates the new crime of ""domestic terrorism,"" whereby those exercising First amendment rights of freedom of speech can be considered terrorists if their goal is to ""influence policy of government?by intimidation or coercion.""
Whereas, we believe the rights and civil liberties guaranteed under the Constitution are precious and are now threatened.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The Town of Swampscott, acting in the spirit and history of our community, do hereby declare that:
The Town of Swampscott supports the government of the United States of America in its campaign against terrorism, and affirms its commitment that the campaign be waged with all due regard for the constitutional civil rights and liberties of the people of this country; and
The Town of Swampscott requests and urges all Massachusetts state and federal legislators, especially our delegation in the U.S. Congress, to monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT ACT and to amend those provisions that violate the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and that violate the civil liberties of all, citizen and non-citizen alike; and to oppose any pending and future federal legislation to the extent that it infringes on Americans' civil rights and liberties.