January 2006 Newsletter

31 January 2006
We can only lament the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court while taking some solace in the fact that both our U.S. senators “followed” CCDBR’s call to support the filibuster effort. Decisions crucial to the future of liberty, most dramatically in the Padilla case, will now be made by a court in which the moderating voice of Sandra Day O’Connor has been replaced by that of a judge whose track record is one of obeissance and deference to claims of presidential power. Our work is indeed cut out for us! More and more, we must mobilize at the grass roots level to defend freedoms which the three branches of national government, completely dominated by repressive forces, not only fail to protect but actively attack and undermine.


At a moment like this one, we especially feel the loss of Frank Wilkinson, who was “present at the creation” of CCDBR and dedicated his long and productive life to fighting for the Bill of Rights. From the ranks of the young who face a future so fraught with perils to hard-won rights we must find fresh avatars of the spirit that Frank represented with unflagging intelligence and stamina.

Fulfilling instructions from our board, yesterday afternoon I met with the district director of Representative Rahm Emanuel’s office to convey CCDBR’s indignation and disappointment at the congressman’s vote in December to back the appalling House version of the Patriot Act re-authorization. I was told that Emanuel departed from his initial preference for the superior Senate version because of a plea made to him by the director of the FBI’s Chicago office! We must hope that hearing from organizastions like ours (in conjunction with the CCCLR coalition) will move politicians like Emanuel, Melissa Bean and Lipinski to reconsider their earlier votes and insist on excising at least the most egregious provisions of the Patriot Act, such as sneak-and-peek, library and other record searches, and national security letters. The recent revelations of warrantless surveillance and eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, in flagrant violation of the law, should spur these wavering solons into greater awareness of the magnitude of the current attack on privacy and free expression and communication.

Please take note of the upcoming theater parties described below: both of them offer special opportunities for CCDBR members and supporters to help in the struggle for civil liberties while enjoying an entertaining and intellectually provocative theater experience. We have very limited numbers of seats, so book early.

As always, we seek and appreciate deeply your continuing financial support for our efforts in the face of mountying challenges.

Bob Clarke