Who Will Stand with Chris Dodd for the Constitution?

Human Rights

Sometime today, Chris Dodd will take the floor in the US Senate and begin talking -- a filibuster -- and what he has to say touches on the most important issues facing this country. The immediate topic will be a bill to provide retroactive immunity to telecom companies who violated the law by helping the Bush Administration illegally spy on Americans. But the larger issue is whether Congress will ever hold a lawless executive branch responsible for its criminal behavior.

Senator Dodd will not be alone; a handful of Democratic Senators -- including Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy -- will be there to support him, and for those who promised to help, this is the time. They have to help him because their party's so-called leadership has failed, again, in an all too familiar pattern of ineptitude and enabling.

Dodd and friends know how important it is to stop the atrocious Intelligence Committee bill, a bill that in addition to granting the telecoms immunity, does far too little to repair the damage Congress did last August to the 4th Amendment, individual liberty and privacy when they passed the dishonestly named Protect America Act (PAA).

But these few Democrats will not be enough to stop this travesty, and the question is: who will be there to help them? They need help, our help, the media's help and the help of every Senator and Representative who still believes in the Constitution's principles of accountable government and civil liberties. Those principles have been gravely damaged by a lawless Administration and a cowardly Congress, and it is long past time to stand up to this withering, unending assault on the Constitution.

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