Friday, September 5, 2008

The Constitution Project

We’ve been a light on blogging this week as we’ve been busy putting together the Foundation’s Fall Retreat Books. But now that they are safely on their way out the door, I thought I’d tell you about the recent work of an Overbrook Foundation grantee, The Constitution Project. On September 2nd, The Constitution Project drafted and obtained signatures for a letter which urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to put off an execution. That letter is referenced in this article published in yesterday’s New York Times.

The letter was which signed by 22 prominent former judges and prosecutors and sent to Perry concerns the case of Charles D. Hood - a man who was scheduled to be executed in Texas for murder despite evidence that his trial was tainted by a romantic relationship between the judge and prosecutor in his case.

The Constitution Project drafted and organized similar letters from judges and other influential leaders in a number of capital cases --- including the case of Troy Davis, a Georgia death-row inmate who received a 90-day stay of execution in July 2007, thanks, in part, to a letter urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency that they drafted and placed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on behalf of former federal judge and FBI Director William S. Sessions.

This kind of work allows The Constitution Project to become acquainted with new unlikely allies and educate them about their work and the issues. This in turn allows them to expand the pool of voices that it marshals on behalf of constitutional safeguards and civil liberties.

It's sure nice to see groups bringing together influential voices from across the political spectrum to prevent gross injustices.

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