Council to Consider Anti-PATRIOT Resolution

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Charlottesville Democratic Party chairman Lloyd Snook introduced a resolution to Council that had been passed by the Charlottesville Democrats at a recent meeting, opposing the USA PATRIOT Act, WINA reports. The Charlottesville Republicans and the Center for Peace and Justice have expressed similar opposition to the PATRIOT Act to Council. Now Council intends to take up the matter at their next meeting to determine if they should pass a city resolution. Back in February, Council passed a resolution opposing war in Iraq, which some decried as a partisan abuse of Council. Does the bipartisan support make this any different? Should Council be in the business of such things?

Full disclosure, not that anyone cares: I was among those that voted to pass that resolution at that Charlottesville Democrats meeting.

22 Responses to “Council to Consider Anti-PATRIOT Resolution”


  • -Full disclosure, not that anyone cares: I was among those that voted to pass that resolution at that Charlottesville Democrats meeting. –

    **FAINTS**

  • Why does Cville contune to pass this resolution or pass that resolution againist the federal govt.? Again, we are not THAT important of a city. Are these resolutions to bring FEAR into the eyes of the federal govt. that we here at Thomas Jefferson’s place have a say in the national scene. I believe this is a big waste of time. I am sure that Cville has more LOCAL issues to worry about then some right vs. left BS.

    So what is next to vote on? I think we need to make a resolution that Cville believes Scott Peterson commited those murders of his family. NO NO NO I got one, CVille must pass a resolution that we do not agree with the BCS system in place in college football. Wait a sec, I got a even better one. Cville must pass a resolution that we believe Gore is the REAL president since he won the popular vote and that the Superme Court appointed Bush in. Go pres. Gore!

  • MORONS, MORONS, MORONS…. What else is there to say? Hopefully Schilling will speak up against these idiots.

  • Here’s the Act in its entirety, for anybody with a few days to kill.

  • While this is just as stupid as the opposition to the war resolution, it is also their duty to oppose the patriot act.

    I’m no expert on politics, but I believe any elected office takes an oath to uphold the constitution. The patriot act violates SEVERAL amendments in the bill of rights.

    This is not the place to go into it, but if you search the net for patriot act, or patriot act 2 (even more scary) you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    The scariest part of the patriot act 2 in my eyes is the fact that it defines ANY crime as a "terrorist act" and then goes on to allow the DEATH PENALTY for ANY "terrorist act".

    You can now be snatched up by spooks in a white van and never heard from again. You have no rights anymore. The act itself was classified at first, before it was leaked, and congress voted on it without even reading it! It would be a good idea for all of you to go read up on it. Don’t take my word for it.

  • The USA PATRIOT Act is a seriously horrifying law. If there was ever a case of the US Government needing some stern, vocal opposition from localities, I’d say that this is it. It is my hope that Council could pass something sufficiently strongly-worded that it would actually have teeth. Make it illegal for a city employee to comply with a PATRIOT Act request or something. That would be way better than just a "we don’t like the PATRIOT Act" resolution.

  • I’m no expert on politics, but I believe any elected office takes an oath to uphold the constitution. The patriot act violates SEVERAL amendments in the bill of rights.

    Good point. Affirmed by oath or not, I certainly believe it to be the duty of elected officials to do just that. When the federal government ignores the Bill of Rights, it is up to citizens and localities to do something about it, and elected officials must lead the charge.

  • As far as the anti-Patriot Act resolutions go, I wouldn’t necessarily call them "right vs. left BS" since both Dems and Repubs have expressed nearly the same sentiments.

    I would submit that with the presence of the University of Virginia, Federal Executive Institute, NGIC, etc., Charlottesville does have a place on the National map. Federal politicians don’t ignore Charlottesville (Reno, Clinton, Rehnquist, etc.), so why should Charlottesville ignore them? Heck, we had Desmond Tutu, Rigoberto Menchu, Oscar Arias Sanchez, and the Dalai Lama here at the same time.

    I would further point out that Charlottesville rarely passes resolutions that weigh on national or international issues, so to get upset when they do it twice over matters of high importance is a bit premature.

    Finally, as I hinted at in my last comment, these matters are of extreme importance not only nationwide, but right here in Charlottesville. When Charlottesville residents could fight in a war or anti-American sentiment harms the Charlottesville tourism industry, I think Charlottesville is perfectly justified in saying something. When the Jefferson Madison Regional Library might be required to hand over YOUR library records or when the federal government can more easily tap the phones of citizens or, god forbid, arrest them and hold them without due process, I’d say that Charlottesville has a responsibility to say something.

  • I should hope you’re not going to Virginia Tech to study law–oh, that’s right, they don’t have a law school. Federal laws trump local ones, in these cases. If Charlottesville makes it illegal to comply with a PATRIOT request, the federal law (making it illegal not to comply with a PATRIOT request) takes precedent.

  • I’m no expert on politics, but I believe any elected office takes an oath to uphold the constitution. The patriot act violates SEVERAL amendments in the bill of rights.

    You’re right, you’re no expert on politics, because you don’t get to decide what acts violate what amendments. Supreme Court, anyone?

  • Exactly, I agree that a "we dont like this" resolution is stupid. But the government closest to the people is the government that most closely follows the will of the people. And disagreement with higher levels of government usually appears at the local and state levels first. The federal government is usually way behind the wave of popular opinion. Just look at how state governments fight with the federal government over issues like medical marijuana and gay rights.

  • I believe I have heard organizations such as the JMRL and Albemarle County Police Department have already instructed their employees not to comply with the PATRIOT Act, at least not until a court order is presented.

    The fact that I have to think twice, even for a second, about publicly criticizing the PATRIOT Act shows just how terrifying and unpatriotic this law is.

  • Yes I do get to decide what laws violate what amendments. I don’t, however, get to repeal those laws. Thats the difference between me and the supreme court. In case you were wondering. People confuse us all the time.

  • Do like I did, make an aluminum foil hat, it keeps the mind control rays out. Oh yeah, and turn off CNN, the military-industrial propoganda CAN get through the aluminum foil hat. I’m still working on that one.

    Remember kids, keep an eye out for dusky foreigners and free thinkers. Report them to your local storm troopers at once.

  • I believe I have heard organizations such as the JMRL and Albemarle County Police Department have already instructed their employees not to comply with the PATRIOT Act, at least not until a court order is presented.

    I — until the last day of the month — represent Charlottesville on the JMRL board, and I can say with much regret that this isn’t true at the library.

  • I should hope you’re not going to Virginia Tech to study law–oh, that’s right, they don’t have a law school.

    I should imagine you mean the opposite — that I should study law. That is, unless it is your belief that I know law well enough.

    Federal laws trump local ones, in these cases. If Charlottesville makes it illegal to comply with a PATRIOT request, the federal law (making it illegal not to comply with a PATRIOT request) takes precedent.

    This is, of course, a topic on which intelligent minds may disagree. But I side with the 10th Amendment, which reads:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    That is to say, the power flows from the people to the localities to the states to the federal government. It is on this basis that I oppose the Dillon Rule, as well.

  • Take a large dose of NPR and call me in the morning…

  • Waldo,

    I have to say I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the 10th amendment. The 10th amendment is referring to powers, not necessarily the heirarchy of which laws trump other laws. For example, the consumption of marajuana is a federal crime, even though the state of California (I believe it was California, yes?) passed a law allowing the medicinal use of marajuana. The courts have thus far ruled that the federal law wins.

    The 10th amendment was put in there as a more general statement that, in absence of a law or guidance from the federal government, the states and localities are free to make their own local laws in order to fill in the gaps.

    Now, you have a more general point about the nature of states’ rights in a post-Civil War federal system; after the Civil War, states’ rights took a severe butt-whipping and has led to our current strong federal government/weaker state and local government style of federalism. This was not the case during the early Constitutional period, in which the founders still feared a strong central government and were content with the national level to be more of a cooperation between the states (but more so than what the Articles of Confederation allowed).

    Another reason behind the evolution towards a strong federal government and a weaker state/local system has been the advancement in transportation and communication technologies; in the early years of the post-Constitutional period, most governance had to happen at the state or local level because it was too difficult to shuttle representatives to Philadelphia (and later, D.C.) and to maintain communication at the national level. Given our current level of technology, the entire country can be managed from the capital and issues that would normally be considered "local concerns" can be addressed at the national level.

    If you’ve gotten this far, and you’re still awake, I applaud your ability to stay awake… my father (a historian) could have me asleep in 10 sentences. ;)

  • I agree almost entirely with what you’ve said. Your point regarding the technological ability to govern from D.C. is particularly interesting — the concept had never crossed my mind.

    I understand that my interpretation of the 10th Amendment is certainly not a legal standard, although it is interpreted similarly by many other than myself. The example of the California case is a good one — as is evident, there are many people that believe that California ought to have the right to legalize medical marijuana if they see fit, and thus support states’ rights in the matter. The same is often said of the state-> locality flow of power here in Virginia regarding the Dillon Rule — that localities are better fit to create laws than the state, and more able to do so on a timely and reasonable basis than Richmond. I agree with both of these cases, and conclude that the power must therefore rest with the people and flow upward to the federal government.

    As I said, these are matters on which intelligent minds may disagree. :)

  • Well, this particular issue has been debated since the very dawn of the U.S.A. Federalism can be inappropriate in dealing with the many local specifics and I think most "intelligent minds" tend to agree on that premise. Where the problem is with "the power must therefore rest with the people and flow upward to the federal government" is when local entities are disobedient for backwards reasons. For instance, should Mississippi have been allowed to continue to defy federal laws on desegregation between whites from blacks in the 50’s?

    Understand, in the case of the Patriot Acts I and II, I am fervently for local governments’ contestation of federal authority (currently controlled by a single force, Dubbya Bush and Co.). But politically and practically, it’s just not an easy and quick assessment.

  • It is not really the job of elected officials to rule on the Contitutionality of any existing law. That is the job of the Supreme Court.

    It is also not for us to decide the Charlottesville should "uphold" the Constitution either. Whether a law is Constitutional or not is subjective – obviously someone somewhere thinks it is, or we wouldn’t have the law to begin with.

    So, if everyone is so concerned, take the law to court. I believe that portions of the law, in my opinion, would be overturned.

    We can make "resolutions" to get us on CNN all night long. But only the courts can overturn a bad law. That is what they are for.

  • Your interpretation is not only not a legal standard, it violates legal standard. If we were to implement your interpretation, the lowest levels of government (localities) could decide to violate any state or federal laws as they saw fit, as long as they were constitutional (as determined by the Supremes, I suppose). Your interpretation is so wide (and in its converse, the powers reserved by the federal government, so narrow) that almost no federal laws could be enforced. Sympatico’s example of segregation in the 60s is very appropriate–others, which under your system would be allowable, could include states or localities legalizing murder, bank robbery, kidnapping, cocaine, etc.

    Intelligent minds do disagree as to the extent of the powers reserved by the government. But few honestly believe that localities should be able to reverse federal laws on national security. Why couldn’t Charlottesville just secede, then?

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