The ABA is supporting legislation to allow veterans who were discharged under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to request a change in their military records.
“Restore Honor to Service Members Act,” H.R. 2839, will ensure that veterans who were discharged solely because of their sexual orientation and did not receive an “honorable” characterization of service can have the opportunity to request their characterization be upgraded. In addition, those who did receive an honorable discharge would be able to remove any reference to sexual orientation from their records by requesting a review.
This bill was introduced on July 25, 2013 and was referred to committee. Since July 25, 2013 there has been no movement. The ABA President’s letter, dated November 21, urges the subcommittee to take action.
via Vets discharged under Dont Ask, Dont Tell should be allowed to seek change in records, ABA says.
On June 11th, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the NSA’s surveillance program. The ACLU lawsuit alleges that the program violates the First Amendment rights or free speech and association, the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, and that the surveillance program exceeds the authority provided by the Patriot Act.
ACLU, a customer of Verizon, made the following comments:
This dragnet program is surely one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens.
It is the equivalent of requiring every American to file a daily report with the government of every location they visited, every person they talked to on the phone, the time of each call, and the length of every conversation. The program goes far beyond even the permissible limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy.
The complaint can be accessed here.
via ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of NSA Phone Spying Program | American Civil Liberties Union.
On Nov. 27, the federal District of Columbia ruled on DHS’s withholding of records under FOIA exemptions. The American Immigration Council submitted a FOIA request to DHS. In response, DHS released two pages. The American Immigration Council then filed the lawsuit.
In its complaint, the American Immigration Council stated, “CBP officers have prevented attorneys from accompanying their clients during inspections, limited the scope of representation, refused to accept supporting documentation proffered by attorneys, and actively dissuaded noncitizens from hiring attorneys.”
The Court ruled that DHS must submit a new affidavit to demonstrate the adequacy of USCIS’ search, and must release 2/3 of the records withheld.
The Court stated,
“After sitting on a fairly standard Freedom of Information Act request by plaintiff American Immigration Council for almost a year, defendant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (a component of the Department of Homeland Security, the other defendant) produced a response riddled with errors.”
“After in camera review, the court concludes that two-thirds of the withheld records contested by the Council should have been largely or wholly released.”
“FOIA cases count on agencies to do their jobs with reasonable diligence. USCIS must do better.”
via Courthouse News Service.