Four months after President Barack Obama finally nominated 5 people to sit on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing to gather the nominees’ testimony in advance of a vote. On April 18 at 10:00 in the morning, you can visit this webpage to watch a webcast of the hearings at which James Xavier Dempsey, Elisebeth Collins Cook, Rachel L. Brand, David Medine and Patricia M. Wald will share their views on privacy, civil liberties, the U.S. Constitution and the role of investigation to protect these from an intrusive executive branch of government.
These confirmations matter. If the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is finally constituted after four long empty years, its members will have the power of subpoena to compel testimony and the surrender of evidence from the Obama administration. The results of its investigations will be shared with Congress and the public twice yearly. If the nominees to the PCLOB are confirmed, if they are seated, and if they do their job, the civil liberties violations of the Obama administration could finally be brought to the light of day.