1200 18th Street, NW - Suite 1000
Phone :202-580-6920 Fax :202-580-6929 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org URL: Website
Works to undermine U.S. national security on constitutional grounds
Has recommended that foreign detainees (including suspected terrorists) should be released on American soil
Receives financial support from the Open Society Institute
Founded in 1997 by Virginia Sloan and Morton Halperin, the Constitution Project (CP) is a nonprofit organization whose objective is to influence court decisions and public opinion on contentious constitutional and legal issues. This is primarily done by way of reports, recommendations, amicus briefs, opinion articles, sponsored events (such as panel discussions), and “expert” opinions offered to the media and legislative committees. Much of CP’s work since September 11, 2001 has sought to challenge the legality of military commissions; end the detainment of "enemy combatants” (a term whose meaning CP says has become "overbroad"); condemn government surveillance of terrorists; and limit the President's executive privileges.
While claiming to promote constitutional values, CP has repeatedly argued on behalf of enemy combatants whom it depicts as victims of American injustice. CP’s “Liberty and Security Committee” heads this initiative, which has led the organization to defend numerous confirmed terrorists. In 2002, for instance, CP submitted an amicus brief for a case involving Khaled El-Masri, a violent German national with suspected ties to terrorist organizations. Another amicus brief was submitted in support of Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and chauffeur, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. CP argued that Hamdan’s habeas corpus rights had been unconstitutionally denied and, more generally, that the military commission process was unjustifiable.
CP also filed several amicus briefs in support of Jose Padilla, an American Islamic convert with a violent history, who, according to CP, was being unlawfully detained. Arguing on similar grounds in a 2009 amicus brief, CP petitioned for a group of Uighur detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be released on American soil. In the 2010 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, CP supported the plaintiffs who claimed that the U.S. government had unlawfully monitored them via wiretapping. In some cases, such as in al-Odah v. United States and Boumediene v. Bush, CP argued that it was illegal for the American government to detain terror suspects because the evidence against them had been obtained through “torture.”
State Secrets Privilege: CP argues that the "state secrets privilege," which "protects evidence from public disclosure if such disclosure would threaten national security," was "misinterpreted as providing an absolute privilege" by the Bush administration.
Watch Lists: CP says that watch lists such as the post-9/11 “no fly” list used for screening airline passengers "can lead to ... invasions of privacy [and] to ... serious damage to reputation, employability, the right to travel, or other constitutionally protected freedoms."