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AJR-26 Civil liberties.(2013-2014)

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AJR26:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Joint Resolution
No. 26


Introduced by Assembly Member Allen

June 13, 2013


Relative to the protection of civil liberties.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AJR 26, as introduced, Allen. Civil liberties.
This measure would urge Congress and the President of the United States to make the protection of civil liberties and national security equal priorities, to immediately discontinue any practices contrary to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and to instruct national security agencies to ensure that national security is achieved without invasive violations of civil liberties.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, The United States of America was founded on the principles of protecting individual liberties and inalienable rights of people from infringement by oppressive government; and
WHEREAS, The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”; and
WHEREAS, Public safety, national security, and the protection of civil liberties are of the utmost importance and highest priority of government; and
WHEREAS, Civil liberties and personal privacy must remain secure and protected, and should not be abridged to pursue politically or bureaucratically desired initiatives without oversight and public knowledge; and
WHEREAS, In recent weeks, there have been news reports regarding an ever-pervasive and ever-expansive government intrusion into the lives of innocent Americans; and
WHEREAS, The National Security Administration has allegedly been operating a clandestine surveillance program that mined user data transmitted through the servers of nine major Internet entities for over a decade; and
WHEREAS, A mass collection and storage of the Internet, email, and telephone records of innocent American citizens, as alleged, would be contrary to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and a violation of the civil rights of all Americans; and
WHEREAS, The potential justification for mass data collection as increasing national security and thwarting terrorists should not take precedence over the United States Constitution and the protection of the civil liberties of American citizens; and
WHEREAS, It is incumbent on our offices to lead by example in the protection of Americans so as to steer the actions of government agencies down a path that holds the citizens and their conscience in the highest regard; and
WHEREAS, A democratic society is based on a social contract entered into by two parties that must equally trust in the other, and it is incumbent upon our government as one of these parties to live up to our highest ideals; and
WHEREAS, James Madison once noted, “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations”; and
WHEREAS, Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly”; and
WHEREAS, In today’s modern, technologically advanced society, the personal information of the citizenry can be easily obtained and cataloged, and it is therefore incumbent on everyone to be constantly vigilant in the protection of our civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, It is of the utmost importance that governance be done transparently with the highest emphasis on integrity and the appropriate establishment of checks and balances; and
WHEREAS, Our first President, George Washington, once may have said, in a quote often attributed to him, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action”; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of the State of California urges Congress and the President of the United States to make the protection of civil liberties and national security equal priorities, to immediately discontinue any practices that are contrary to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and to instruct our national security agencies to ensure that national security will be achieved without invasive violations of civil liberties; and be it further
Resolved, That this is not a partisan issue, but rather a constant concern that has been in the hearts of every American since the creation of our great nation and the ratification of the United States Constitution; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.