July 2, 2013. Seemingly out of nowhere, a large grassroots movement has sprouted up and is planning to make their voices heard and their presence felt on none other than America’s birthday – July 4th. Titled, Restore the Fourth, the multi-city protests and marches will demand that the US federal government restore the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, the right that protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
Restore the Fourth
As detailed by the group’s press release two weeks ago, ‘Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan, non-violent movement that seeks to organize and assemble nationwide protests on July 4th, 2013. Protesters in over 100 cities across America will gather to demand that the government of the United States of America adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits and respect the Fourth Amendment.’
Organizers go on to explain what they call self-evident justification saying, ‘Restore the Fourth maintains that justification of the Fourth Amendment beyond the original text need not be given; the legitimacy of which is self-evident. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."’
The press release also calls on Congress to undo many of the laws they’ve enacted that seemingly violate the 4th Amendment, as well as establish oversight bodies that have the power to bring guilty government officials to justice. Specifically, Restore the Fourth is asking for the following actions:
1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of
this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal
and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this
The group’s website then asks what’s next for outraged Americans and lists a handful of suggestions for those who wish to continue the protest after the nationwide marches, ‘The most pressing and urgent question is this: How will we respond now that we know that the government is violating the constitution on this scale? And what actions must we take to ensure that our leaders not only hear our voices, but listen?’
Answering its own question, organizers write, ‘Many organizations are taking a stand right now. Mozilla started the website stopwatching.us, the ACLU is preparing a fight in the courts, and grassroots movements are popping up across the country to speak out. But there are many more actions that must be taken, and the person who can most make a difference is you.’
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Local Restore the Fourth demonstrations
As promised, the Restore the Fourth protests will be held in cities across America this 4th of July. When asked, organizers insist they are a non-partisan, grassroots movement not aligned with the Occupy movement on the left or the Tea Party on the right. The group’s website describes themselves saying, ‘The movement is completely nonpartisan and nonviolent; the cause is a human-rights issue that transcends political boundaries.’
As of the time of this writing, organizers had confirmed Thursday protests in 91 US cities. The main rally in the nation’s capitol is already drawing big names and experienced activists. Among the featured speakers Thursday in Washington DC is the Libertarian Party’s Executive Director Carla Howell. Joining her will be Libertarian candidate for the Virginia House Anthony Tellez.
For a complete list of the 91 cities with organized ‘Restore the Fourth’ protests this Thursday, along with local details and a link to each group’s website or social media page, visit RestoreTheFourth.net.
For more information on the Libertarian Party’s involvement in the ‘Restore the Fourth’ rallies, read the party’s online announcement.
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