In view of the current debate in the congress relative to the proposed Criminal Justice Reform Act (known as S-1 of 1975), the American Ethical Union reasserts its continuing concern and reaffirms the following position:
STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO THE PASSAGE OF U.S. SENATE BILL S-1 BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AMERICAN ETHICAL UNION SEPTEMBER 19, 1975.
The Board of Directors of the American Ethical Union strongly opposes the passage of the "Criminal Justice Reform Act of 1975" (U.S. Senate Bill S.1). This Bill is regressive to our democratic system in that it would result in a more repressive government, and would decrease freedoms. It would reverse recently won civil rights and seriously curtail civil liberties.
Among the proposals we oppose are the following:
- the restoration of Capital Punishment for a variety of crimes
- severe criminal penalties for any person, in or out of government, who discloses classified "national defense information"
- legitimization of unauthorized wiretapping for 48 hours
- severe criminal penalties for advocacy of revolution, or inciting or leading a riot (defined as an assemblage of five persons)
- removal of criminal penalties for federal officials for illegal acts if they believed "the conduct was required or authorized by law"
This Bill could have been used to prevent the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the My-Lai and Watergate prosecutions, and many public demonstrations.
If enforced it would tend to curtail freedom of the press, speech and assembly.
Source: AEU 68th Annual Assembly - Resolutions Submitted Memo [job11scan]
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