CLEVELAND- As the nation prepares for President-Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on the new presidents’ administration to dedicate the next four years to restoring the freedoms that were lost during the Bush administration. Some of the major issues the ACLU has asked Obama to address include: the closing of Guantanamo Bay, guaranteeing full and prompt due process for all detainees, suspending the use of warrantless wiretaps, reaffirming the United States’ opposition to all torture techniques and ending the practice of extraordinary rendition.
ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “The past eight years have left many of our most cherished freedoms greatly diminished and cast a shadow over America’s image as a bastion of liberty. President Obama must lead the way in restoring and expanding the rights that have been stripped away.”
“This damage cannot be corrected in just one day or even one hundred days in office. However, it is imperative that President Obama make a commitment to prioritizing these issues throughout his four years,” added Link.
The ACLU has been a vocal critic of several actions taken by the Bush administration on issues like national security, reproductive rights, privacy and free speech. Over the course of the past eight years, the ACLU has challenged the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program, represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have been denied due process, stopped the federal government from accessing library records of innocent Americans and advocated for increased protections of residents’ private information.
Link concluded, “Along with restoring the rights taken away by the Bush administration, President Obama must also look to the future and expand equal rights to all Americans. If we are to regain our place as a beacon of democracy, we must strive to include and empower all people no matter their place in society.”
The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio is based in Cleveland with community and campus groups throughout the state. There are 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.