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ACLU Drops Challenge Over Patriot Act 274

Posted by kdawson
from the declare-victory-and-withdraw dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "The ACLU announced on Friday that they were dropping their case against the US Government over the highly contested section 215 of the Patriot Act. ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson stated: 'While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies. The ACLU will continue to monitor how the government applies the broad Section 215 power and we will challenge unconstitutional demands on a case-by-case basis.'"
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ACLU Drops Challenge Over Patriot Act

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  • Re:"Reauthorized" (Score:4, Informative)

    by bwd (936324) on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:00AM (#16640707) Homepage
    There was a sunset provision in the Patriot Act which required it to be reauthorized through a vote in both houses. Hence, it was reauthorized with some changes.
  • by autocracy (192714) <[slashdot2007] [at] [storyinmemo.com]> on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:30AM (#16640867) Homepage
    They won the case against the version of the PATRIOT act which has already expired. The judge didn't rule on the current version. It really wasn't a waste.
  • Re:Patriot Pieties (Score:3, Informative)

    by calbanese (169547) on Monday October 30, 2006 @10:14AM (#16641285) Homepage
    idiot [lectlaw.com]
  • Re:huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by JayBlalock (635935) on Monday October 30, 2006 @10:20AM (#16641353)
    How is it not a waste to win a case against something that did not exist anymore? It makes as much sense as trying a dead man in court.

    Because the law DID exist when they filed the case. The reason it "doesn't exist" anymore is that there was a sunset (ie expiration) clause built into the bill. Congress could have chosen to reauthorize PATRIOT 100% exactly as it had been passed before. Instead, they rewrote sections of it to give back some of the civil rights they had previously taken. In all likelihood it was the ACLU's initial court victory that convinced the government that it needed to tweak section 215 to make it more constitutional.

    A case doesn't HAVE to get to the SCOTUS to convince Congress to rewrite a law, you know. If they see the writing on the wall, they're free to change it before they get ordered to. And therein lies the victory here.

  • Re:Patriot Pieties (Score:3, Informative)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:53AM (#16642567) Homepage Journal
    It's fair and important to point out that USAPATRIOT is more than just the vivil rights violations.

    "Shaking the tree", however, was possible before it passed.

    Proof by example: end of 1999. There were warnings of possible "millenium" terrorist attacks, not as numerous or as loud as the warnings before 9/11, but serious. The administration met, planned, and passed alerts down to various law enforcement organizations. An alert border guard then spotted somebody who turned out to have a car full of explosives meant for a Seattle landmark.

    We keep forgetting that there were two attacks on the World Trade Center. The first, in 1993, wound up with the plotters rotting in prison. Normal police powers were enough for that.

    BTW the next time somebody says that the "moonbats" were just scaremongering about library records, point them to the 2005 Connecticutt case.
  • by harks (534599) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:09PM (#16642799)
    No explicit right to privacy? They might not use the word, but the Fourth Amendment says "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, . . ." This is what privacy means.
  • Re:Clinton's watch (Score:3, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:15PM (#16642885) Journal
    If you want to include our embassies, USS cole, etc, then by your definition, we have lost another 3K ppl (after all, we own the soil that our bases are located on). 9/11 occured because the current president dropped the ball, not because clinton did. It should be obvious to all that there was plenty of evidence. Simply put, W. did not make it a top priority.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday October 30, 2006 @01:29PM (#16644009) Homepage Journal
    What happened is that he stepped off a plane from Pakistan and was arrested at O'Hare airport. He was held incommunicado and without charges for three years by the government on the grounds that he was an enemy combatant. During that time defense attorneys filed briefs on his behalf (how they found out I'm not quite clear) claiming that holding an american citizen in a military jail without charges is a violation of the persons Constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment. CNN link [cnn.com]


    For three years the government argued that he was actually on a scouting mission to set off a dirty bomb somewhere in the U.S yet failed to charge him with any criminal activity.

    After those three years, and after spending who knows how much money trying to defend their case, they dropped all charges against him, released him from military jail and sent him to the civilian court system where they finally charged him, along with four others, with "conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country ... for the purpose of opposing existing governments and civilian factions and establishing Islamic states under Sharia (Islamic law), and material support for terrorism," according to the indictment. CNN link [cnn.com]

    My point was not whether the guy was guilty or not, but rather that government didnt' charge him with anything, simply held the guy for three years, and then spent money defending its actions against lawsuits filed by not only his attorney, but the ACLU and other organizations, then finally relented because the courts were starting to rule against its position. In other words, just like the crux of this article, they knew they couldn't win and so changed their position to make it seem like they had a victory but only after spending taxpayer dollars doing so.

    I could just have easily used the issue of no-bid contracts by Halliburton and its subsidiaries which are costing the taxpayers millions, if not billions, of dollars in cost overruns, missing equipment, unsubstantiated work and other related matters. In fact, Bunnatine ("Bunny") Greenhouse, the top official at the US Army Corps of Engineers in charge of awarding government contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, was demoted because she spoke out about the abuses of the bidding contract. Asia Times Online link [atimes.com] and International Herald Tribune link [iht.com].

    I was only tyring to come up with other cases in which the U.S. government spent tons of money defending their actions and finally dropped the case which is similar to what the ACLU supposedly did to the taxpaer. Also, that the government doesn't need the ACLUs help in wasting taxpayer dollars considering that the Republican-led House, Senate and White House are doing very well on their own.

  • Re:Habeus Corpus (Score:2, Informative)

    by orielbean (936271) on Monday October 30, 2006 @02:08PM (#16644817)
    Yes, but it has been ruled several times that non-citizens are not held to the strictures of the Constituion or Bill of Rights by our Supreme Court - the Geneva Conventions used to be useful as they did cover world wide definitions of combatants / soldiers / POWs.

    But the new law that Bush and Co. passed circumvented that and took the right to name who and what a combatant was away from the conventions and into the loving arms of the Executive & Congress.

    So, the foreign terrorists were never under Haebeus Corpus, but were under the conventions. Now, they enjoy neither protection.

    Also, for you budding home-grown US terrorists, you would be protected under Haebeus Corpus - but if the Executive declares you a combatant, there is NO RELIEF allowed for you to petition the court under the new law. Which means you can be denied Corpus / Due Process.

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