Dear President Obama,
I've written to you a few times before, and of course I realize my messages may not have actually made it past your staff. You must get thousands a day, and I imagine only the best or most important ones will make it directly to you. So to whomever might be screening this message on your behalf, I say this: If you love your country, please forward this message to the President. I beg you.
Like many Americans, I have been shocked and terrified that the only thing Congressional Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on is removing due process and habeas corpus from our legal system. As a legal scholar and a man of principle, Mr. President, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to veto the Defense Authorization Act. You took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. There is no doubt this bill is a domestic threat to the Constitution.
I don't need to tell you that requiring a charge and a trial for all criminals is a foundation of both American law and universal human rights. I know you already know that. What I do want to tell you is that if you sign this bill, you'll be ushering in an era far worse than McCarthyism: an era in which all that has to happen for someone to be locked away forever with no legal recourse is to brand them a "terrorist suspect". Whether or not you would abuse this power, do you really trust all your successors not to?
If you sign this bill, this is no longer a free country... It's a police state. If you sign this bill, you're allowing Congress to gut the Bill of Rights. If you sign this bill, you'll be selling your country and all it's citizens down the river.
Most importantly, though, if you sign this bill you'll undoubtedly be remembered as one of the worst presidents we've ever had. This bill is so bad that signing it can literally erase all the good things you've accomplished. How can that really be what you want?
Please do the right thing and veto this bill. Or better yet, sign it, and then use your new powers to lock up everyone who voted for it as a national civics lesson. They and their disregard for the Constiution are the real domestic terrorists here; you know that as well as I do.
Please reconsider. Please don't betray us (and yourself). I still have faith in you... Please don't show me it was misplaced.
Jason Louis Feldstein