Full protection of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights - it should be the business of those who lead us to maximize our liberty. In this I agree with Jim Webb's statements when running for the Senate, that the government stops at his door and needs a darn good reason to step across threshold. Jim said this applied to who he slept with, how he prayed, and his guns. I would argue that rather than argue for why the government should be allowed to restrict our liberties, those who want my support should be seeking to expand our individual liberty where possible, and seek to justify the restriction of liberty only in the most extreme of circumstances.
Limiting the power of the executive branch to investigate legal residents and citizens of the United States without appropriate actions by the Courts, including the securing of warrants for wiretapping and other forms of intercepting communications of any fashion, for keeping the equivalent of pen registers (recording numbers called or websites visited). Specifically outlawing the practice of asking private corporations such as the major communications handlers of taking the action by making them liable should they violated the privacy of those whose communications they carry under both criminal and civil charges.
A commitment to a guarantee of full habeas corpus rights to all American citizens whether taken into custody within the US or abroad, and to all legally in the United States, allowing only the Constitutional restrictions of suspension by Congress in cases of invasion or insurrection: any suspension Constitutionally requires an explicit action by the Congress limited to the period of such an invasion or insurrection.
An explicit rejection of torture as defined under international agreements to which the United States is a party, under ALL circumstances. This will apply to all acting in the name of the United States, whether as uniformed military, civilian employees of agencies such as the CIA, or to contractors employed by the government.
A recognition that returning people in the custody of the United States to other nations not bound by our guarantees against torture is a violation of our responsibility: that we shall not make such renditions without a written guarantee of the receiving government that the person will not be tortured, and that the United States shall have complete access to any interrogation and treatment of persons so turned over.
Opposition to amending the Constitution to restrict liberty. This applies equally to proposed amendments to remove the flag from First Amendment protection and to attempts to define marriage in any fashion that would restrict the rights of any TWO consenting adults to have their relationship formally protected and recognized by the government, including all rights an privileges that accrue to the status we now give marriage.
Full support of the ideas of checks and balances and separation of powers. This includes the responsibility of the Congress of the United States to exercise full oversight of the executive branch on behalf of the American people. It also includes the right of the House to initiate an impeachment investigation of the Executive and Judicial branches, with any claim of executive privilege in refusing to grant appropriate information to the investigating committee subject to being considered an impeachable offense on the grounds of obstruction of justice.
Requiring nominees for positions on the Federal appellate bench (Court of Appeals and Supreme Court) to answer questions on which current precedents they consider to be inappopriately decided and hence not binding under stare decisis: this does not represent a prejudging of a case that might come before them; it does demonstrate an attitude towards the stability of the law, without which a ruling of the Supreme Court has no import beyond the current membership's tenure.
Willingness to support the necessary steps to ensure that states do not redistrict other than as a direct result of the decennial census or when required to by the Federal Courts because of a violation of requirements under law and Constitution for equity or to meet valid impositions of Federal statutes.
A commitment to limit for a fixed period of time not less than two years of direct or indirect profiting by those in the executive and legislative branches, including staff, from legislation and policies for which they have participated in drafting the rules and law, or had a significant role in enforcement.
A commitment for the United States to abide by ratified international agreements, and not seeking to unilaterally withdraw from such agreements via reinterpretation: a ratified treaty is, under Article VI, part of the Supreme Law of the land, and as such should not be subject to unilateral change on the part of the Executive branch. Unless the interpretation you wish to apply is agreed to by the same fraction of the Senate required to have ratified the original agreement, it shall be considered an illegal act for the Executive branch to so act.
A commitment to limit the use of the recess appointment power as follows (a) to those people whose name has not been rejected by the Senate; (b) an understanding that the name will be submitted to the Senate for confirmation, and should the Senate reject the appointment by vote of the full Senate, or such vote is prevented by the use of the extended debate provision (ie, filibuster), the person receiving the recess appointment shall resign., and to ensure the efficacy of this provision, the President shall require the signing of a legally binding agreement by the person to be appointed prior to making the recess appointment; (c) agreement not to use the power of recess appointment on any recess of less than 10 business days.
Limiting the assertion of the doctrine of Executive privilege to those communications occurring directly to the President and the Vice-President and their respective chiefs of staff. Unless one of those four parties is part of the conversation, or unless the document in question is signed or initialed or in some other fashion indicated to have been read by one of the four parties, it shall not be considered protected under Executive privilege. Further, any discussion that involves political considerations such as the impact upon elections shall be excluded from the privilege, which is intended to allow the President to receive candid advice in the running of the government, not in the attempt to win elections on behalf of POTUS or other members of the same political party.
Absolute rejection of the doctrine of the Unitary executive theory as expressed by the current administration.
Clear assertion that - except when presiding over the Senate - the Vice President is considered a member of the Executive branch, and therefore subject to all rules, Executive Orders, and laws applicable to members f that branch. That is - only the acts of presiding and voting in case of ties shall be excluded from being considered actions by a member of the Executive branch.
A commitment to work in conjunction among the branches for a continuity of government plan which would NOT give absolute or unrestricted power fo the Executive in the case of a national emergency.
I could offer more, far more. Perhaps you can persuade me to modify this list, rephrasing a concern. Perhaps you would add additional items. I accept that I am neither a lawyer, a constitutional scholar, or a drafter of legislative language. I am as a citizen attempting to address my concerns about our dangerous drift towards the possibility of dictatorship. I also want to reestablish the idea of the United States as a beacon of liberty, of fairness.
The foregoing is the product of the mind of one individual, who on this morning sat down at his computer and began writing. It is a cri de coeur on behalf of the highest aspirations of our government. I write it today because tomorrow I yet again pick up my responsibility for teaching young people about government. I want to believe that I am teaching them about a government which is constitutionally limited, with checks and balances, separation of powers, liberties guaranteed, and all those other principles about which we claim we support.
I want to be proud about our nation and our system of government. And if you want my support, I want to know you believe similarly.
Is that too much to ask?