U.S. Senator Russ Feingold

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As we celebrate the 221st anniversary of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, I want the next president – whoever that may be – to pledge his commitment to restoring the rule of law. It is a sad fact that for the past seven and a half years the Bush Administration has treated the Constitution and the rule of law with a disrespect never before seen in the history of our country. The years that follow this president’s shameful legacy will be the true test of the strength of our democracy.

I want to help the next president undertake this critical task by providing a blueprint of what must be done to restore the rule of law. As Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I held a hearing on Tuesday, September 16, on this very issue. During the hearing, the Subcommittee heard testimony from legal and historical experts on what steps the next president and the next Congress must take to repair the damage done by the Bush Administration to the rule of law. The hearing was an effort to provide the next president with a full range of recommendations for reestablishing appropriate checks and balances in a variety of areas, including warrantless wiretapping, interrogation standards, detention policy, abuse of executive privilege, excessive government secrecy, violations of privacy and misleading Congress.

In addition to the testimony of the witnesses at the hearing, I solicited responses from a host of other law professors, historians, advocates and other experts to help craft this blueprint for the next president, and the next Congress, so that starting in January 2009 we can begin to reverse the damage done to our Constitution by the previous administration.

Opening Statement at Restoring the Rule of Law Hearing

Senate Floor Speech on Restoring the Rule of Law

Transcript and testimony of hearing witnesses (pdf)

Additional written testimony for the record (pdf)

Walter Dellinger
Partner, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Former Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel (1993-1996)
Former Acting Solicitor General, (1996-1997)

Mickey Edwards
Board of Directors, The Constitution Project
Lecturer, Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, Princeton University
Former Member of Congress (R-OK), 1977-1993

Harold Koh
Dean and Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law
Yale Law School

Elisa Massimino
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
Human Rights First

John D. Podesta
President and CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton, 1998-2001

Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.

Senior Counsel
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law

Suzanne E. Spaulding
Bingham Consulting Group

Charles J. Cooper
Partner, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC

Patrick F. Philbin
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kyndra Rotunda
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Chapman University School of Law

Robert Turner
Professor, General Faculty
Associate Director, Center for National Security Law
University of Virginia School of Law

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Nancy Talanian, Executive Director

Center for Democracy & Technology, Gregory T. Nojeim, Director, Project on Freedom, Security & Technology

Center for National Security Studies, Kate Martin, Director, and Lisa Graves, Deputy Director

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson, Director

The Center for Victims of Torture, Douglas A. Johnson, Executive Director

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Common Cause, Sarah Dufendach, Vice President for Legislative Affairs

Constitution Project

National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Linda Gustitus, President, and Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director

National Security Archive, Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel

Open the Government, Patrice McDermott

The Rutherford Institute, John W. Whitehead

Joint Statement of 20 legal scholars

Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists

Mark Agrast, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Leonard M. Cutler, Professor of Public Law, Siena College

Daniel Farber (Sho Sato Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley) and Anne Joseph O’Connell (Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley)

Bruce Fein, The Lichfield Group, Inc.

Lou Fisher, Specialist in Constitutional Law, Law Library of the Library of Congress

Amanda Frost (Associate Professor Law, American University Washington College of Law) and Justin Florence (Associate, O’Melveny & Myers, LLP)

The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Congresswoman from New York, 1973 – 1981

Heidi Kitrosser, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Law School

Seth F. Kreimer, Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Alan B. Morrison, Visiting Professor, Washington College of Law at American University

Ralph Nader

Deborah N. Pearlstein, Visiting Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Peter M. Shane, Jacob. E Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago