(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/4/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on all those who value Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure to contact their U.S. Senators, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to ask that Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh be held to account on his support for NSA bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and stop and frisk searches.
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its four-day confirmation hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Kavanaugh Supports Unconstitutional NSA Bulk Collection of U.S. Communications
CAIR expresses serious concern about Kavanaugh’s 2015 concurrence while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in which he stated his support for the unconstitutional search and seizure of American communications. According to Kavanaugh:
- The NSA’s “metadata collection program readily qualifies as reasonable.”
- The “critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy” of Americans.
- And “the Fourth Amendment does not bar the Government’s bulk collection of telephony metadata under this program.”
After the Second Circuit Court ruled that Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act cannot be interpreted to authorize the bulk collection of domestic communication, Congress imperfectly limited Section 215 to collect call records based on “specific selection terms.”
CAIR maintains that Congress’ limiting Section 215 to collection on “specific selection terms” could still permit courts to order private businesses to turn over large quantities of phone records from certain area codes, ZIP codes, and regions of the U.S. It could also be interpreted to permit collection from certain electronic devices, email hosts or other internet records that contain “specific” search “terms.”
CAIR believes that NSA meta-data programs primarily spy and collect the communications of Arab and Muslim Americans.
Kavanaugh Supports Warrantless Stop-And-Frisk Searches
CAIR expresses serious concerns about Kavanaugh’s 2008 dissenting opinion in United States v. Askew, a stop-and-frisk case where the majority of the justices, including several Republican appointees, decided police violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a suspect by unzipping his jacket without a warrant after an initial stop-and-frisk search did not yield any results.
Kavanaugh argued that during the police detention of a person based on reasonable suspicion, that requiring a warrant to frisk a person’s body to “conducting identification procedures that constitute searches would lead to absurd and dangerous results.”
CAIR maintains stopping, questioning and frisking people by police primarily occurs in African-American and Latino neighborhoods with little-to-no reasonable suspicion. In 2013, a federal judge found that the police tactic was unconstitutional, calling it “a policy of indirect racial profiling.”
The Need to Question Kavanaugh on Civil Rights and Presidential Powers, Recuse Himself From Cases Involving Trump Personally
CAIR also renews its call on the Senate to question Kavanaugh about his views on civil rights, religious freedom, the rights of immigrants and the limitations on presidential powers.
Because of Donald Trump’s openly Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist views and policies targeting minority and immigrant communities, CAIR urges the Senate to question Kavanaugh about his opinions on the protection of civil rights, religious freedom and the rights of immigrants.
In light of President Trump’s personal involvement in cases that may soon come before the Supreme Court, CAIR also urges the Senate to question Kavanaugh about his views on the limitations of presidential powers.
Critics of Kavanaugh’s nomination suspect that the president may have picked him specifically because of his views on those powers.
In a 2009 article, Kavanaugh stated that “we should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecution” and “if the president does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available.”
Kavanaugh’s history as a judge is also alarming. In a 2015 concurring opinion, Kavanaugh wrote that the federal government’s indiscriminate and warrantless collection of metadata was lawful. “In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program,” Kavanaugh wrote as a D.C. circuit judge.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com