City Solicitor David M. Moore  Error Costs City Residents their Basic Right to Due Process

Due to incorrect information provided by city solicitor David M. Moore on June 17th, the Worcester City Council voted 9 to 1 to accept the NDAA’s reclassification of Worcester as a “battlefield” in the war on terror.

Moore’s error effectively canceled the Bill of Rights for every resident of the city, leaving all of us vulnerable to the NDAA’s Gitmo-style indefinite detentions without due process. Only one councilor, Michael T. Gaffney, remained alert enough to catch Moore’s mistake and to vote correctly to uphold Worcester’s civil rights.

Five weeks later at our big July 22nd anti-racism rally, Councilor Sarai Rivera, who missed the June 17th meeting, said she also would have voted correctly had she been present. This means just two members of the City Council stand ready and willing to defend our most basic rights against bad legal advice.

What mistake by Moore caused so many councilors to vote against a resolution upholding the Bill of Rights for Worcester? Moore had advised the Council, incorrectly, that the NDAA detention controversy was awaiting a Supreme Court ruling, and therefore was “not a city issue.”

Trouble was, Moore apparently had not done his legal homework and failed to notice that the Supreme Court, back in April, had refused to hear the NDAA case in question, effectively sending the matter back to local and state officials to decide.

Moore also would have known, had he been paying attention, that nearby towns such as Webster, Oxford and Rutland had already unanimously passed the same civil rights resolution for their people. As did Albany, NY and a host of other jurisdictions around the country. How come it was legal and proper for other U.S. jurisdictions to defend their people’s basic civil rights but not okay for Worcester officials to defend ours? Are we chopped liver?

Due to Moore’s easily avoidable mistake, we now have a situation where Worcester residents have fewer constitutional rights and protections than people living just a few miles away. That is Unequal Justice and must not be allowed to stand.

Basic human rights are too important to leave in the hands of overpaid government lawyers who can’t keep their eyes open. The people of Worcester deserve a solicitor who will come to Council meetings alert and prepared with accurate information and who will remain eternally vigilant in putting our sacred constitutional protections before petty politics. And we need more councilors like Michael Gaffney and Sarai Rivera who won’t allow a misinformed, dozing attorney sway them from keeping their solemn oath to uphold and defend the natural rights of all Worcester residents regardless of race, color, religion or political beliefs.

The Worcester City Council should revisit and pass the Restoring Constitutional Governance (RCG) resolution as soon as possible.


Follow me on Twitter