Erosion of the Constitution PDF Print E-mail



"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin


Since September 11, 2001, the threat of "terrorism" has brought concerns about safeguarding the "homeland." In response to the imminent threat of domestic "terrorist" activity, the US Justice Department constructed a body of legislation that is known as the USA Patriot Act. Some terms of this hastily enacted legislation altered the standard due process procedures and constitutional rights that offenders and citizens previously enjoyed under the US Constitution.


On October 17, 2006 George W. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act (ends the writ of habeas corpus) and allowed the president to station military troops anywhere in the United States and, thereby, take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."


There is nothing in the "detainee" legislation that protects American citizens from being kidnapped by their own government and tortured. Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman states, in the LA Times, "The compromise legislation...authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."


Furthermore, President George W. Bush, without issuing a press statement, on May 9, 2007, signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president. The "National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive," with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, establishes under the office of president a new National Continuity Coordinator.

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