Bob Barr on Civil Rights
Libertarian nominee for President; Former Republican Representative (GA-7)
Rep. Bob Barr did nothing more than give a speech to the CCC, yet he was forever damned by association. After the initial flurry of articles, editorials, and news stories excitedly reported that Barr had spoken to the CCC, a resolution was introduced in Congress for the sole purpose of denouncing the Council of Conservative Citizens. Other than the 9/11 terrorists, the CCC may be the only group ever singled out for the denunciation in a congressional resolution
The left now decries DOMA as the barrier to federal recognition and benefits for married gay couples. The right lambasts DOMA for subverting the political momentum for a constitutional amendment. In truth, the language of the legislation--like that of most federal laws--was a compromise. DOMA was indeed designed to thwart the then-nascent move in a few state courts and legislatures to afford partial or full recognition to same-sex couples.
I crafted the legislation so it wasn't a hammer the federal government could use to force states to recognize only unions between a man and a woman. Congress deliberately chose not to establish a single, nationwide definition of marriage.
In 2006, when then-Sen. Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, he said, "Decisions about marriage should be left to the states." He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go. If one truly believes in federalism and the primacy of state government over the federal, DOMA is simply incompatible with those notions.
Despite his open appeal to conservatives, Barr’s recent renunciations of Republican backed legislation will limit his appeal among movement conservatives. Barr has changed his mind and now strongly opposes the war, condemns the Patriot Act as a violation of civil liberties, criticizes efforts to restrict rights of homosexuals, and even favors the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
With these two decisions the Court “has reaffirmed one of the foundations of American liberties, the historic writ of habeas corpus--which requires the authorities to show cause for an arrest,” explains Bob Barr. The justices did not order anyone released, instead leaving that decision up to the trial judge after a full and fair hearing.
The decision “is as much a victory for the American people as it is for any particular litigant.” The right to habeas corpus is enshrined in the Constitution: “by allowing a defendant to seek relief in court, habeas corpus is one of the most important legal limits on government,” explains Barr.
Indeed, the primary reason for which I authored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was to ensure that each state remained free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and not be forced to adopt a definition of marriage contrary to its views by another state. The decision in California is an illustration of how this principle of states’ powers should work.
A: I’ve had the opportunity over the last few years to work with the Libertarians. They’ve had a chance to get to know me. Of course, there are always going to be some naysayers, but the vast majority of Libertarians that I’ve worked with have come to understand my views and my commitment to the Libertarian Party and its principles. I also have explained many times to Libertarians that the post-9/11 world is a very different world from the one I served in Congress. The threats to our liberty in a post-9/11 world are dramatically greater than prior to that. The changes have really necessitated--in my case and I think in the eyes of a lot of Americans--a re-evaluation of where we stand on a whole range of issues regarding government power and have highlighted the need to start rolling those back with greater urgency.
A: It started with the initial anti-terrorism bill in 1996. That probably was the first time tha we recognized specifically that we had some very fundamental common interests. We worked together after that on several other pieces of legislation, such as the asset forfeiture reform, and the national driver’s license. I had always known them to be a very consistent advocate for civil liberties, but we disagreed on so many issues that I never really sought them out in terms of an ally. But shortly after I came up to the Congress, we both realized that the size of government and the expansiveness of government power were creating a smaller sphere of personal liberty and personal privacy, and that we needed to find allies in this fight, and work together on those issues in which we agree, and agree to disagree on the other issues.
Supports granting Congress power to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: It is clear that this bill's many cosponsors do not agree on every issue. The same can be said of the bill's noncongressional supporters, which include groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The sphere of privacy, which Justice Brandeis eloquently described as the ''right to be let alone,'' is not only rapidly diminishing, it is increasingly penetrable. The Federal Agency Protection of Privacy Act takes the first--necessary--step toward protecting the privacy of information collected by the federal government, by requiring that rules noticed for public comment by federal agencies be accompanied by an assessment of the rule's impact on personal privacy interests, including the extent to which the proposed rule provides notice of the collection of personally identifiable information, what information will be obtained, and how this informational will be collected, protected, maintained, used and disclosed.
I want to emphasize H.R. 4561 will not unduly burden regulators nor will it hinder law enforcement. This bill will apply the best antiseptic--sunshine--to the federal rulemaking process by securing the public's right to know about how rules will affect their personal privacy.
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Passed House on a voice vote; sent to Senate on Oct. 8, 2002; never called to vote in Senate.
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