Resolution on Civil Liberties

WHEREAS the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001 were explicitly against America and American values; and

WHEREAS one of the touchstones of American life is our regard for the civil rights and civil liberties protected by our laws and constitution; and

WHEREAS there is an urgent need for law enforcement officials to have the necessary tools and support to conduct the difficult task of bringing to justice terrorist organizations that operate by stealth and secrecy; and

WHEREAS the President and the Attorney General have sought to expand law enforcement powers in a number of prudent ways, but have also weakened a number of constitutional and statutory protections by:

  • Permitting law enforcement officials to eavesdrop on communications between defendants and their counsel; 
  • Allowing immigrants to be detained without charge for unspecified periods of time; 
  • Providing for the trial of non-citizens in military tribunals that do not necessarily provide the protections that are required in U.S. courts, whether they be military or civilian; and

WHEREAS the protection of America, must include the protection of its values as well as its people; and

WHEREAS it is these very values of a free and open society that the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks sought to destroy.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the President of the United States and the Attorney General to abide by the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and the statutory protections that are the cornerstones of our justice system.

Passed by Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, February, 2002