(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement after President Obama announced the he would support appointing a special advocate to the FISA courts to argue on behalf of the right to privacy and other individual rights of the American people. Recently, Blumenthal introduced the FISA Court Reform Act of 2013 , which would create such an advocate.
“I am tremendously pleased to hear President Obama’s support for appointing a special advocate to the FISA courts, an idea that is at the heart of legislation I introduced last week. Recent revelations about the size and scope of the nation’s foreign surveillance activities prove – once again – that the Constitution needs a zealous advocate. My legislation would empower such an advocate to protect precious Constitutional rights if threatened by government overreaching, and thereby strike a critical balance that serves the interests of both liberty and security. The Special Advocate’s client would be the Constitution and the individual rights of the American people. President Obama’s endorsement of this general framework today is a strong step in the right direction.
“As a skilled lawyer, President Obama knows that courts commonly make better decisions when they hear both sides. His support for this commonsense concept should give this cause compelling momentum. His statement reflects that he's receptive to reforms that make the FISA court more open and accountable – more like other federal courts and less like a secret court, making secret law through secret opinions.”