It took President Obama three long years, but finally in December of 2011 he obeyed the law and finished putting all five nominees into consideration for appointment to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. This is an important task for Obama to have completed, because the PCLOB has special powers to protect American freedoms: it is given full subpoena authority to interview members of the U.S. Government and to collect complete information on the search and surveillance activities carried out by our government. The PCLOB is tasked with the duty of issuing reports to the Congress and to the public twice yearly that reveal violations of Americans’ constitutional rights. Finally, the PCLOB is tasked with taking action across government agencies to prevent civil liberties violations in the future. That’s hypothetically true. In reality, actions that may be in violation of Americans’ constitutional rights have gone unchecked. None of these important oversight activities have been carried out under the administration of President Obama because of President Obama’s inaction on placing nominations.
But now the buck’s passed. Now it’s no longer Barack Obama’s fault that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is unstaffed. Since December, it’s been the fault of Senator Pat Leahy. Senator Leahy is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is in charge of reviewing nominations for the PCLOB members and passing them on to the full Senate for official consent. But since December 2011, when the last of the five PCLOB nominees were named, not a single hearing for any of the nominees has been held or even scheduled. It’s worse than that: two of the five nominees were actually submitted by President Obama 14 months ago, in December of 2010. Even those two have been stalled by Senator Leahy. There’s been no progress in the Judiciary Committee whatsoever, and there are no public indications that there will be.
Is this what Senator Leahy was elected by the people of Vermont to do? To stonewall the protectors of Americans’ constitutional rights?
If your answer is “heck no,” then don’t just tell me. Tell Senator Leahy.
DC Office Phone: 202-224-4242
VT Office Phone: 800-642-3193
Enough! Call Patrick Leahy today. Tell him to get off his duff and do the job he was elected to do.