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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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  • Patriot Pieties (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:00AM (#16640705)
    One of the most amazing and amazingly unremarked upon aspects of these 9/11 commission hearings is the unanimity about the benefits of the Patriot Act. They don't often say it outright and the Democrats especially talk about how important "increased cooperation" between the CIA and FBI is. But the reality is that all of these "needed fixes" everyone keeps talking about are the Patriot Act. All of the "institutional barriers" that prevented us from "shaking the tree," all of the obvious things that should have been "checked out" etc are what the Patriot Act was designed to fix. It may not be perfect but I think it's hilarious that this seems to be the one bit of policy consensus from these hearings but few are willing to admit it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoTheory (580275)
      Do you have evidence that the Patriot Act actually improved anything? I don't.

      Is there any evidence that there are fewer institutional barriers to cooperation and coordination? Because if the rest of the agencies effected by the Patriot Act were reorganized like FEMA was, i don't feel very confident that the changes made to the US government are of any use at all.

      Also, there is a difference between policy consensus, and the reality of implementation. (for instance, integrating national crime database
    • by diamondsw (685967)
      The ACLU did admit this up front. As you'll notice, they only object to a single section - you might want to read the fine summary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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 m
    • Well the way our laws work if 1% of a complex set of regulations is unconstitutional, it shouldn't be passed. No one ever made the argument that the Patriot Act was all bad. But, the small percent of it that is unacceptible validates a challenge. Too bad the public was never allowed to hear an honest debate over it.

      The entire "institutional barriers" slogan was just a bunch of Rovian trash. There never *was* a legal barrier. Unless you consider your 4th amendment rights a barrier. The CIA can do thing
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:39AM (#16640953) Journal
    They dropped this case because they felt they needed to divert more of their efforts to protecting the Second Amendment.
    • by Guuge (719028)
      The second amendment is under attack?
      • Yeah.
        • by Guuge (719028)
          Please cite the bill/amendment in congress that would limit the second amendment.
          • I don't know if there are any new ones, but I'd say all those laws banning automatic weapons, requiring registration, etc. count as attacks on (or rather an occupation of, since they're already in effect) the 2nd Amendment.

            • by Guuge (719028)
              Didn't the assault weapons ban expire? Pro-gun conservatives have been in power for some time now, and you haven't even noticed the difference? By all accounts we ought to be living in a gun paradise by now. Why are people still harping on second amendment issues?
  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:56AM (#16641101) Homepage
    IANAL, but traditionally one drops a case if one is payed off, if one is likely to lose, or if one might lose and it's a bad test case for the issue. (The last applies if you're more concerned with the system than with one or two particular clients.) In this case, might the case have been dropped because of the possibility of it raising the "right to privacy" question before the supreme court? With the current court, such a question opens the door wide on abortion--there's no explicit right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, and Roe v. Wade depends heavily on it. This may simply be far from the ideal court (or case) with which to revisit the question of that implicit right.

    So maybe they did the math. Lose the right to privacy en masse or gain a little bit o' facism.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by harks (534599)
      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.
    • As I've said elsewhere, Roe vs. Wade is a prime example of why it's a really, really bad idea to accept bad jurisprudence just because it creates a good outcome in the short term.

      Roe rests on a rather silly argument. Rather than using any number of very good justifications for enabling abortion -- such as the equal protection clause, or better yet, just tossing it back to the legislature until public pressure forced the creation of a real "Right to Privacy" amendment -- the USSC created a legal fiction. Beg
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Monday October 30, 2006 @10:11AM (#16641255)
    a story about "The Patriot Act" appeared on /. and nobody commented on it because they were afraid to?
    • by uujjj (752925)
      This is a USA specific item being posted when mostly Europeans are on slashdot. Of course hardly anyone is going to comment.

      Hey slashdot editors: please post US-specific stuff when Americans are online.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Cydonian (603441)

      Making your population afraid is old-school, and pretty much died with the Cold War. Making your population apathetic, otoh, is what all New Totalitarianism is all about.

  • 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

    That's easy, they could just change the contitution while their at it. The people in power seem to be destroying so much that was good in the US government. The problem with current system is that there are too few parties, so it is too easy for one party to enact dubious laws, whether its democrats or republicans.
  • Ever heard of a letter of marque and reprisal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_marque)? Most Americans have no idea what it is, but it's a little power that Congress has that allows anyone they designate (and they could write it out to all of humanity) to hunt down and deal with (or bring back) an enemy of the US. Commonly used for pirates, the "terrorists of the 17th and 18th centuries," this little power would be wonderfully applicable today as it would allow private bounty hunters, Muslims looking
    • During the 9/11 commission, I heard senators ask Rice out-right why we didn't hire someone to just kill bin Laden and Saddam years ago. Rice responded that hasn't been American policy in years, and that sovereign nations don't assassinate leaders.
      • by fyngyrz (762201) *

        ...sovereign nations don't assassinate leaders.

        No. They just drop bombs on random citizens.

        The ban on assassinating leaders is just one more way that line animals and citizens take the brunt for the decisions made by those who do not have to sully their hands with the direct consequences of war, and as such, I think it serves as a condemnation of the system, not a point of honor.

        If a person is "commander in chief" (or some kind of intermediate officer) of the armed forces, then he is a legitima

  • Mission re-accomplished!
  • Over the past weeks, maybe months, I've heard many debates between candidates in the upcoming federal elections. Invariably, at some point the Republican candidate throws in "and s/he voted against/opposed the Patriot Act!", to which the Democrat doesn't argue against the Patriot Act or any part of the Patriot Act, but rather denies ever opposing it and voices their support of the Patriot Act.

    How did the Republicans manage to spin support of the Patriot Act into something politically mandatory? What happene

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