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Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional 661

Posted by simoniker
from the much-controversy dept.
Adam9 writes "According to Yahoo/AP, a federal judge has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations. The ruling marks the first court decision to declare a part of the post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism statute unconstitutional, said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project."
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Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional

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  • And??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkHelmet (120004) * <mark AT seventhcycle DOT net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:38PM (#8093482) Homepage

    Cole declared the ruling "a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles."

    It's great that this is the first blow towards stamping out parts of the Patriot Act, but it's not winning the whole war.

    I hope that Maher Arar [sfgate.com] sues the pants off of the US Government. To quote the article:

    The Syrians locked Arar in an underground cell the size of a grave: 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, 7 feet high. Then they questioned him, under torture, repeatedly, for 10 months.

    I hope that this man gets compensation for what he had to endure. I'm crossing my fingers that in the process of him doing so that most of these police-state laws that have gone into effect go the way of the dinosaur.

    This isn't 1943 [utah.edu], and this isn't 1984 [online-literature.com]. The law should reflect that.

    • Re:And??? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by neilcSD (743335) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:44PM (#8093550)
      I think it's a good thing that this has happened. After all, if we allow terrorists to change our society in a significant way (i.e., turning the United States into a police state), then they have, in a way, won. However, I am not against giving up some personal freedom to make sure that our nation as a whole survives and hunts these fuggers down - When you want to catch a wolf, do you send a sheep? No, you send another wolf. However, they need to make DAMN sure they don't persecute the innocent.
      • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Spazmasta (744225) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:11PM (#8093834)
        then they have, in a way, won

        More than "in a way"... they will have won, period. It's not like they expect the US to give up and remove all our military from the middle east or anything like that, terrorists have been attacking other american territory and other countries for a long time. Their goal is to cause chaos, to make people live their lives differently, by what the terrorists dictate. Exactly what they want is for the US to waste millions on extra metal detectors or anti-anthrax machines, or to give up our freedoms. By "fighting back" and installing all sorts of extra security features, we are only playing right into the terrorists' hand. Fighting back is not trying to guess their next move and save a few peoples lives, but to continue normally, not wasting our money on anti-terrorist measures, and instead spend that money to prevent the deahts of the thousands that might die from poverty, that might become victim to an underfunded education system, the thousands that will die because our great country doesn't want to provide the money for a working free health care program like even Canada has, just because we need to invade a country like iraq in case they attack us first. Terrorists aren't the real threat. Our own irrational fear is what we should be worrying about.
      • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Golias (176380) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:11PM (#8093837)
        I call this ruling proof that the system works.

        When the PATRIOT act was signed into law, I didn't like a lot of it, but I was one of the people saying "don't get your panties in a wad. Congress and the President are doing their best at legally stepping up enforcement, and due to the urgency they're doing so by re-treading RICO laws. Anything which turns out to be unconstitutional will get struck down by the courts, and life will go on."

        Sure enough, some of those provisions of the new law are being tested against our constitutional rights via the court system. This is how our system of government is supposed to work. Bravo for American government!

        There's still a few more elements I would like to see struck down, but some of the enforcement powers in PATRIOT have also made a difference in our ability to avert another attack on the scale of what we saw in 2001. Our democratic system of checks and balances is not perfect, and certainly not efficient, but it seems to work better than anything else that I've seen.

        • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:24PM (#8093947) Homepage Journal
          Sure enough, some of those provisions of the new law are being tested against our constitutional rights via the court system.

          On the other hand, there's enough legal education and know-how in the system right now (most Senators and a sizeable # of Congressmen are either lawyers or have been in service for a number of years) to have been able to make the decision that its unconstitutional and not even bothered to vote for or sign it in the first place.

          Passing something with so many bluntly unconstitutional clauses, just to say "we're doing *something* (even if for now its the wrong thing)" is just plain poor leadership.
          • Re:And??? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Golias (176380) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:32PM (#8094012)
            On the other hand, there's enough legal education and know-how in the system right now (most Senators and a sizeable # of Congressmen are either lawyers or have been in service for a number of years) to have been able to make the decision that its unconstitutional and not even bothered to vote for or sign it in the first place.

            Law is a complex topic upon which reasonable people can disagree. That's why we have more than one Supreme Court justice. You will notice that a 9-0 decision does not happen often on the big issues. It's also why we have more than one political party.

          • Re:And??? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kenjib (729640)
            The fact that many in congress are or were lawyers doesn't mean much when you consider they most of them voted yes on the bill before having a chance to read it.
          • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Telastyn (206146) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:21PM (#8094559)
            I think that on the third hand, there's enough legal education and know-how in the system right now to know that any legal recourse against such an unconstitutional law will take about 3-4 years. About the length of most governmental appointments... *hrmmm*
        • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JoeBuck (7947) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:30PM (#8093995) Homepage

          It will be proof that the system works if and when the appeals are exhausted and the ruling still stands.

          Our democratic system of checks and balances requires that checks are possible. If one man can order anyone, US citizen or not, locked away for life without charge and without even the ability to see a lawyer, we have no "democratic system of checks and balances", we have a king.

        • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:39PM (#8094086)
          If no one 'got their panties in a wad' do you think we would be seeing any of this act declared unconstitutional?? Don't kid yourself. Our system of government works because people get mad about this type of b.s.

          If Congress and the President were 'doing their best' and temporarily doing a power grab to defend us poor Americans from the evil terrorist infidels, then why didn't they include a sundown measure in the act where by it would expire after x,y,z number of years? This would give the president and the other branches the power they 'need' while making sure that our civil liberties aren't permanently eroded. If the powers granted in the act turned out to be necessary- then congress could vote on the act when it came up. Congress would have had the time to review the act and maybe read the thing. PATRIOT was pushed through congress in how many days?

          The whole act should be repealed- not just parts. I do not believe it has made a difference in our ability to 'avert' another attack. It has been widely known for some time that agents had identified and reported the 9/11 senario as a vulnerability- those reports and warnings were ignored. I am not convinced that the PATRIOT act has helped us do anything but tighten the grip our government holds on us.

          Our government is not perfect, and this is a great example of why it must change. No act should be hurried through Congress because our President wants to go to war and his opposition is being called unpatriotic. We shouldn't have to be going through the act and fighting to get parts of it stricken three years after it was passed. This act should never have been there in the first place.

          This is a failure of our government not a triumph. It took freedom away and we are now fighting to get it back.

          "Those who would give up essential freedoms for security, deserve neither freedom nor security." - Ben Franklin
        • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gid13 (620803) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:48PM (#8094216)
          "I call this ruling proof that the system works."

          Well... You might be hard pressed to convince Mr. Arar of that, at least in the short term.

          Further, and more disturbingly, you're essentially saying that the government can do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING it wants to in the short term, since it will only be bound by the constitution after the significant amount of time it takes to challenge it in court.
      • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by monk (1958) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:07PM (#8094415) Homepage
        "When you want to catch a wolf, do you send a sheep? No, you send another wolf."

        Seems to me you would end up with a whole pack of wolves...

        When you want to catch a wolf, you use a human. If you want to wipe out wolves you change the habitat in such a way that it does not support wolves. I'm afraid the climate lately has been very friendly to wolves.
      • Re:And??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by demachina (71715) on Monday January 26, 2004 @09:50PM (#8096203)
        When it comes to the Patriot Act and a continuing parade of followons I think you need to think out of the box about why we are blessed with them. I would argue that the Patriot Act didn't entirely happen just because of 9/11. Rather 9/11 was a convenient excuse for the Bush administration to do a lot of things they wanted to do anyway but they couldn't get away with until they had 9/11 as an excuse.

        If you scoff look at the war on Iraq. They wanted to attack Iraq and depose Hussein from the day Bush was inaugerated. Cheney, Perl and Wolfowitz wanted to and wrote about it years before that. 9/11 just gave the Bush crowd a convenient excuse. The fabricated a bunch of unproven ties between Iraq and Al Quida and trumped up non existent WMD's. Presto, they have an excuse to take down Iraq and radicly alter the world to conform to their world view, or at least they thought. It remains to be seen if Iraq turns in to more of a problem than it was under Hussein when the Shia's try to take the power that is their right in a real democracy (though I wager the U.S. will prevent any election that isn't rigged).

        I'd argue the Patriot Act is also just a manifestation of the desires of a right wing administration that wanted repressive laws to enforce order and to stifle dissent, 9/11 just made it feasible to pass them. Right wing adminstrations like everyone to either agree with them or shut up. When an administration can spy on anyone without judicial oversight, watch everything you read, everything you buy, they make people live in fear and most people living in fear keep their mouths shut. Ideally they make everyone shut up without even arresting anyone. Though they will arrest and intimidate a few that keep dissenting. That is the thing they want most out of the Patriot Act, an end to criticism of them and a cowering populace.

        The fact is the current administration loves 9/11. It is the best thing that could have happened to Bush. Before it happened his popularity was declining and he was looking like a one term President. Afterward he is a towering figure of strength, hard to beat, vote for him or America will go down in flames. Since 9/11 nearly every speech Bush gives is laden with the words terror and terrorism juxtaposed with freedom and patriotism. You are either with us or against us. If you disagree with us you are unpatriotic and soft on terrorists or practicly a terrorist yourself. Every speech is designed to drown America in fear so you will turn to them to "save" you from terrorists lurking in every shadow. The war against terror will never end, and they are the only ones who can fight it, so you have to keep them in power from now to eternity. Fear is a mind killer and the Republicans are using it to great effect to stiffle dissent and to protect their hold on power at all costs.

        So the 9th circuit overturned one little piece of the Patriot Act. Well the 9th is the most overturned court and the most reviled by the right wing. Its a propaganda boon for them to say, there they go again, they are a bunch of left wing loons, they aren't with us, they are against us, they are practicly terrorists themselves. See why we need a bunch of right wingers in all the courts. Even if the Supreme Court does overturn this its one little piece and the Bush adminstration will just come back with a bunch of new pieces to replace it. They can currently pass dangerous laws a lot faster than the courts can overturn them. They probably put a few garbage pieces in, in the first place, so a couple would get overturned, people would cheer, and the really bad stuff would still be there.

        If you want to get rid of the Patriot Act pretty much the only option is to put Bush and the Republicans in congress out of power in the next election, though we are bucking a head wind in the form of giants piles of cash to brainwash people through TV and the threat of rigged elections thanks to Diebold and the Pentagon's SERVE. The Democrats suck too but I think we all remember now why Republicans t
    • Re:And??? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Selecter (677480) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:56PM (#8093680)
      Yeah, that was a shitty deal for Mr. Ahar, who has never been charged with any crime ( at least in a non-kangaroo court fashion. )

      BTW, The RCMP ( the Mounties ) just searched a reporters notes, computer, sources for the Toronto Star for information about his case.

      From the Star:

      Prime Minister Paul Martin has blasted the RCMP for raiding an Ottawa journalist's house in search of leaked information in the case of a Syrian-born Canadian who was detained by the Americans and later deported to Syria. Martin says the RCMP's focus should be on who leaked the information, not who reported it.

      They have a Canadian version of the Patriot Act, you see.

    • Re:And??? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:12PM (#8093849) Homepage Journal
      I hope that Maher Arar sues the pants off of the US Government.

      I consider myself to be loyal to American ideals, but the treatment of Mr. Arar is enough to inspire someone to become a terrorist.

      Imagine being this man's child. Your father disappears for nearly a year and when he is returned to you, he is a shadow of his former self. 40 pounds lighter, limping and unable to get a peaceful night's sleep.

      This is unacceptable. I didn't donate a cent to and of the "9-11" charities, but if Mr. Arar was to set up some kind of fund I think I would contribute to pay his lawyers to sue my government.

      LK
  • by Trejkaz (615352) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#8093486) Homepage
    News at 10.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#8093491) Homepage Journal
    ...has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations.

    Finally, I'm freed to give this advise!

    "Darl, what you are doing is wrong, stop it."

    Maybe now he'll listen.

  • A Small Victory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andyrut (300890) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#8093492) Homepage Journal
    It's awesome that the Supreme Court has finally examined and ruled this part of the Patriot Act unconstitutional. However, this particular section of PATRIOT is only the tip of the iceberg that denies constitutional rights to individuals.

    What Slashdot readers and other techies should be particularly concerned with is that, under the Patriot Act, the definition of terrorism now encompasses many computer crimes which have nothing to do with terrorism. Deface a web site? You're a terrorist. It also allows wiretaps and other intrusions without the hard-nosed rules that usually come with warrants, as long as it's placed under the crime of terrorism -- which now includes even minor computer crimes. The EFF has posted its detailed analysis of the Patriot Act, and how it affects people concerned with electronic freedoms here [eff.org].

    While this is a minor victory, hopefully this is the first of many parts ruled unconstitutional.
    • NOT the USSC! (Score:5, Informative)

      by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:42PM (#8093528) Journal
      It wasn't the USSC, it was a Federal District judge.
    • Re:A Small Victory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0WaitState (231806) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:59PM (#8093719)
      It was the 9th Circuit Federal court, who usually do the right thing and then get overturned on appeal by Scalia and the Supremes. So, this is about as effective as singing folk songs and waving placards in the designated "protest" space at least one mile distant from wherever Bush is fundraising today.

      Meanwhile, the much-worse provisions of Patriot II were tucked into the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week. So, if you want to make a difference, call up your congresscritter and mention how relieved you are at this temporary reversal of Patriot I and how you really don't want to see more of these unamerican laws passed. You could also donate money or time to interest groups: EFF, EPIC, ACLU, whoever's most likely to throw Bush/Ashcroft/Cheney out of office, etc.
  • by Eyah....TIMMY (642050) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:40PM (#8093497)
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation made a very good speech last year at DefCon about the dangers of the Patriot Act.
    They have an analysis [eff.org] on their site about the Patriot Act and what it means for us.
    Here's also another article [eff.org] about why we should be concerned about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:41PM (#8093514)
    Howard Dean wants a federally mandated identification chip [com.com] (linked to your state id) and id readers in EVERY computer. You'd even need it to access the internet, with limits on your access based on your information! Talk about big brother.
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:42PM (#8093532)
    Basically they wanted to advise a group of people on how to peacefully resolve a dispute.

    This was a case of a super-vague law that prohibits someone from engaging in speech that basically no ordinary person would even find to be controversial speech. I'm surprised that the DOJ even threatened them with enforcement of this in this case. It should have been obvious to them that pursuing some white hat like this would just bust their pet law.
  • Sweet! (Score:5, Funny)

    by scosol (127202) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:43PM (#8093539) Homepage
    Does this mean I can smoke weed again without supporting terrorists?!?!?!? :P

  • by mikeophile (647318) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:43PM (#8093543)
    Is the part that starts right after the title and continues to the end.

    There is nothing patriotic about it if you have any love of liberty or freedom.

  • phew.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by andy55 (743992) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:43PM (#8093544) Homepage
    a federal judge has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations.

    phew... now I can safely continue to consult for microsoft...
  • is that you become that which you fight against. Isn't it ironic, that if these terrorists really do hate our 'Freedom,' that is precisely what we are giving up to fight them? Sounds like they win, in that case.
  • YES!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irvu (248207) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:44PM (#8093561)
    Seriously, a ruling of this type not only rectifies a bad law but serves to remind people that bad laws can be changed. Lord knows I needed some good news like that.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:45PM (#8093566)
    Cole declared the ruling "a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles."

    It's unbelievable that we have an attorney general that this concept eludes entirely. No wonder he lost an election to a dead guy before dubya found him.

    Remember, when you vote for Bush, you're voting for the "package" deal.
  • Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:45PM (#8093571) Homepage
    I'm glad it's that part, and not the part that says the PATRIOT Act will expire. It'd suck if that part got ruled unconstitutional.
  • Major Victory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zelurxunil (710061) <zelurxunil@gmaEI ... minus physicist> on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:46PM (#8093584) Homepage Journal
    "a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles."

    I'd merely like to point out that this "Part" of the Patriot act is just that, a part of it. This still isn't dealing with any of the true hard issues, such as eavesdropping without a warrant/court order, forcing libraries disclosure of a persons activities, and so on. This is not trully a victory for anyone who really cares about Pravacy, or rather "Your Rights Online." Merely a victory for everyone trying to take a quick shot at this administration.
  • Just the start (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neppy (673459) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:46PM (#8093586)
    Immediately after 9/11 opposition to just about anything labeled "anti terrorism" was practically nil. Only now are common citizens who have been in the dark starting to realize that not everything being sold under the label is really good for them. Court decisions are just the beginning; hopefully the taboo of challenging anti terrorism measures wears off for politicians and the public too. If the general public was aware of what is really in PATRIOT the pressure for politicians to repeal it would be pretty huge.
  • Phew (Score:3, Funny)

    by Malicious (567158) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:48PM (#8093606)
    Librarians around the United States, heaved a sigh of relief.
  • was declared an enemy combatant and relocated by the Ashcroft Ministry of Truth to sunny Guantanamo Bay.
  • Defending PATRIOT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WombatControl (74685) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:53PM (#8093644)

    I'm sure that I'm distinctely in the minority here, but I think the criticisms of the PATRIOT Act are entirely blown out of proportion. I've actually read the PATRIOT Act, and I see very little that matches the wild claims that have been levied against it.

    Take for example the infamous Section 215 that civil libertarians claim allows law enforcement to search your library records. Except this power requires the consent of a federal judge, no library records have ever been searched, and such provisions have already been used in other criminal cases. Library records were searched in the hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the man who shot fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, and to hunt down the Zodiac killer in New York in 1990. Yet no one raised a fuss about these searches. It is clear that there is a direct double standard at play, fueled by ignorance of the law.

    Most of the provisions of the PATRIOT Act specifically extend already existing powers specifically to fight terrorism. Most of them were already codified in law under earlier racketeering statutes such as RICO. Yet no one seemed to question those moves then.

    The fact remains that our rights were abused far more heinously during the War on Drugs and the term of Janet Reno as AG than they ever were under Ashcroft. No-knock warrants are far more suspect as far as civil rights are concerned than extending provisions of RICO to terrorism. I fail to see the logic of a system that gives greater protections to Mohammad Atta than it does to Tony Soprano.

    If PATRIOT is repealed, it means that that such basic elements as tighter information sharing between federal agencies will be struck down as well. Had those protections existed in 2001, the events of September 11 would never have happened. Several 9/11 conspirators were pulled over just before the attacks - but because the police didn't have access to immigration records or terrorist watch lists they were let go with only a warning. Another event like that is simply intolerable.

    The fact is 9/10ths of the arguments against PATRIOT are based in a sense of partisan politics rather than a rational examination of law. Had PATRIOT been a creation of Clinton Administration I doubt anyone would be talking about it, but in a country where partisanship overwhelms common sense on both sides rational discussion about the best way to protect this country from the clear and present danger of terrorism is difficult to find.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The flaw in your argument about the library records being seen is that for the two examples you gave that they were viewed by the feds AFTER the illegal acts.
      The Patriot Act allows the feds to inspect the records BEFORE and at any time if they remotely suspect you of anything.
      • The standard for issuing a search warrant does not change - there must be "probable cause" for such a search, meaning that a crime does not necessarily have to have been committed before such a search would be authorized. The rules under the PATRIOT Act are the same rules that would be applied to any other criminal case in that a judge would have to be consulted and a warrant issued. The only difference is that the PATRIOT Act makes this process swifter and allows for such searches to occur without the know

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:03PM (#8093760)
      Had those protections existed in 2001, the events of September 11 would never have happened. Had those protections existed in 2001, the events of September 11 would never have happened. Several 9/11 conspirators were pulled over just before the attacks - but because the police didn't have access to immigration records or terrorist watch lists they were let go with only a warning.

      And what divine power do you possess that no other human on the face of the planet possesses that allows you to make such a claim as fact? Most of the 9/11 conspirators were here legally on visas issued by our own beloved State Department which already had access to such vital information but failed to research the applications adequately.

      The crux of the matter is that most of the provisions of the PATRIOT act are unneccessary and law enforcement and courts have proven time and time again that they are capable of handling terrorism cases using their existing laws and powers.
    • by rbird76 (688731) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:18PM (#8093889)
      as far as I know, interagency cooperation has always problematic because agencies compete for funding; agencies thus hoard information because it will help them get funding.

      1) How does the PA ameliorate this?
      2) How does killing the PA mean that the interagency cooperation provisions cannot be passed separately (what makes it unconstitutional on its own?)

      I wasn't a fan of the previous administration (although I am liberal and dislike GWB fairly intensely), but the extra provisions in the PA overstep a lot of bounds. For example, the library provision also forbids the donors of information to notify you of a search, a provision that is not consistent with previous law. In addition, I don't believe that a search for library info. has to be approved by a judge, but only by a clerk - this significantly lowers the barrier to getting a warrant.

      The admission (I don't have the pointer right now) that the PA is being used primarily to go after nonterrorist criminal activity doesn't give me any reason to accept the promise that the PA will not be misused with anything other than a large bag of rock salt. The evasion and doublespeak on the PA's support website doesn't make me trust the people responsible for enforcing it any better. The attempts to add powers to the PA under cover of secrecy do not amplify my (already miniscule) faith in the ability of the PA to achieve its designed goals.

      Giving trustworthy people the sort of power embodied in the PA is questionable - eventually power corrupts (although absolute power is "pretty neat" (Clancy, from somewhere else). Giving that power to someone many consider untrustworthy is a mistake. The words, evasion, and untruthfulness of the current administration do not lead me to trust them with the power the PA invests in them. I trusted WJC more than I trust GWB, and I wouldn't trust either of them with the PA.
      • This is why I recommend people read the PATRIOT Act before commenting on it. For reference, the specific statutes that accomplish this are Title II Section 203(b) which increases the ability for law enforcment agencies to share wiretap information and Title II Section 203(d) which allows for the sharing of data accumulated in FISA searches.

        Furthermore, Title VII also specifically modifies the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796h) to remove specific statutory limits to inform

        • That is simply incorrect. From Section 215: (Each application under this section shall be made to)`(B) a United States Magistrate Judge under chapter 43 of title 28, United States Code, who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to have the power to hear applications and grant orders for the production of tangible things under this section on behalf of a judge of that court;

          Magistrates aren't judges, and their powers are limited compared to real judges; they don't even necessa
    • by geomon (78680) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:22PM (#8093924) Homepage Journal
      Except this power requires the consent of a federal judge, no library records have ever been searched..

      Which is why it should be expunged.

      If it isn't needed, then why put it in?

      The fact remains that our rights were abused far more heinously during the War on Drugs and the term of Janet Reno as AG than they ever were under Ashcroft.

      While I agree that the WOD is much more threatening to civil liberties than PATRIOT, why do you support putting more power into the hands of the government when they obviously don't need it (by your own admission, re:librarians)?

      Also, the Reno-Ashcroft remark is pure trollbait. I haven't seen Ashcroft sprinting out to repeal any of the WOD provisions, so they stand in full force as they were under Reno. And the laws were passed by the Congress, not the USAG.

      If PATRIOT is repealed, it means that that such basic elements as tighter information sharing between federal agencies will be struck down as well.

      Good!

      Had those protections existed in 2001, the events of September 11 would never have happened.

      Your crystal ball is scratched, scuffed, and otherwise translucent.

      The fact remains that, despite the passage of PATRIOT, information sharing between agencies remains spotty. And the reason for the lack of exchange is not due to fuzzy-headed liberals blocking the governments efforts. It is due to the time honored tradition of 'empire building' in government agencies.

      That behavior will not end with the expansion or the repeal of PATRIOT.

    • by Aidtopia (667351) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:26PM (#8093960) Homepage Journal
      Take for example the infamous Section 215 that civil libertarians claim allows law enforcement to search your library records. Except this power requires the consent of a federal judge, no library records have ever been searched, and such provisions have already been used in other criminal cases. Library records were searched in the hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the man who shot fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, and to hunt down the Zodiac killer in New York in 1990. Yet no one raised a fuss about these searches. It is clear that there is a direct double standard at play, fueled by ignorance of the law.

      Let me say up front that I'm not a lawyer. But the biggest problem I see here is that there is very little if any oversight. Traditional search warrants are (or become) public record, making it possible for people to check for abuse. For example, in California, after a wiretap is completed, law enforcement must contact every party that was heard on the line to let them know they had been recorded. With the gag rules in the PATRIOT ACT, there's no after-the-fact oversight to make sure the judge who granted the request was doing the right thing and that the enforcement agencies aren't routinely asking for wide-reaching powers. You say that, "no library records have ever been searched," but you don't know that because of the gag rules.

    • Re:Defending PATRIOT (Score:4, Informative)

      by craw (6958) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:02PM (#8094355) Homepage
      The problem with 215 is that it greatly expands the governments ability to obtain practically every conceivable pieces of information about anybody. Not foreign spies, anybody. And who grants this authority? The highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, who meet in secret, and extremely rarely release any infor about what they ruled on.

      Before the Patriot Act, one could be investigated if one was a spy suspect. Now, the provision is that there is an ongoing investigation related to espionage or terrorist activity. This is a big web to spin and the FBI spins it without oversight.

      Then there is the gag order that can be unilaterally applied by the FBI. Those that handed over info the FBI can be restricted from ever telling you that this info was given to the FBI.

      However, 215 is not the main problem, the expansion of the National Security Letters (NSL) in the Patriot Act is the real problem. The FBI can issue a NSL without a Federal Court order if there is an on-going investigation that is taking place. Before, NSLs could be issued if it was believed that you were a foreign spy. And without any court oversight, the FBI has a "free-hand" to issue NSLs whenever they want. This is a big legal loophole in the Patriot Act.

      What can one do with a NSL? The FBI can get info from your phone, ISP, banks, and credit card companies. Remember, all this without a court order. Additionally, a gag order can be issue to those companies to not disclose that they gave the FBI the information about you.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Had those protections existed in 2001, the events of September 11 would never have happened.

      There are a LOT of things that should have stopped the Sept 11th attacks from happening, but none of them did. One more thing that *should* prevent it, isn't necessarily going to...

      The fact is 9/10ths of the arguments against PATRIOT are based in a sense of partisan politics rather than a rational examination of law. Had PATRIOT been a creation of Clinton Administration I doubt anyone would be talking about it

      Th

  • by LilMikey (615759) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:54PM (#8093666) Homepage
    <angry sarcasm>According to the State of the Union address the Patriot Act is essential to the fight against terrorism! What are Americans to do?! We had all better start stocking up on plastic sheets and duct tape again. Good thing none of them stinking Democrats have been able to successfully attack the 2nd amendment under Bush's watch. I'd hate to lose those vital rights. How else could we defend ourselves?</angry sarcasm>

    In all seriousness, this won't have much of an effect on personal privacy for average Joe and I imagine the powers that be will do everything in their power to keep the steamroller running, but a good swift kick in the nuts to the Patriot Act can only be a good thing for those of us that appreciate civil liberties.
  • Just Remember (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pave Low (566880) on Monday January 26, 2004 @05:58PM (#8093710) Journal
    It was a ruling from the Ninth Circuit, the most left-leaning court in the land.

    It's also the most consistently overturned court, so this ruling is definitely not the final word.

    • Re:Just Remember (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sulli (195030) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:01PM (#8093741) Journal
      Okay, Mr. Conservative News and Views, would you vote to uphold this odious bit of legal treason? Would you if it were signed by a Democratic President (as the DMCA was, for example)?

      Stand and be counted if you really think so.

  • bout time (Score:4, Informative)

    by knodi (93913) <softwaredevelope ... m ['mai' in gap]> on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:00PM (#8093728) Homepage
    I went around cube to cube (hey, I was on break) sharing the gist of the headline, and I got a unanimous [pardon the french] "about fucking time" from EVERY SINGLE person, except one guy who just clapped slowly. He's an odd one...
  • Russ-Russ! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bbuchs (551229) <bbuchs@maMONETc.com minus painter> on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:00PM (#8093735) Homepage
    Just for the record, MY senator - Russ Feingold - was the ONLY one to vote against the Patriot Act. And, from what I've heard, getting a Republican lapdog into his seat has become Karl Rove's pet project.

    (At least that's what Russ keeps saying in the campaign contribution letters I keep getting...)
  • by my sig is bigger tha (682562) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:01PM (#8093744)
    all the hoopla go from fighting drugs, and the laws getting passed be about controlling drugs, to now being about terrorism...

    the laws continue to be about controlling us, only the rationale changes.

  • by Tarwn (458323) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:03PM (#8093764) Homepage
    I read through the article and it seems like the judge is asking for it to be reworded rather than stricken, and the piece in quesiton is only the expert advice portion, not the pre-existing portion concerning materials/resources.

    So while the people who are jumping up and down for joy about pieces being over-ruled may have to wait for a while, I'm personally happy that we are looking at suggested corrections. I don't by any means think the patriot act is perfect, but I much prefer people trying to improve on it rather than just throw it aay all together.
  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:27PM (#8093967)
    now if we can get rid of the statute that enables "law enforcement" less checks and balances and the portion that enables indefinite confinement without lawyer or family visitation/contact of those classified as "combatants" (even US citizens). So much for due-process as guaranteed by the Constitution. I've said this before and I'll say it again; the Patriot act is one of the most unPatriotic pieces of legistature known to man, especially since it defies the very spirit of the Constitution, the common foundation of our society.

    You know...the more I think about it, I get the feeling that both Ashcroft and Bush failed their history classes.

    The worst part is that I also get the feeling that Stalin/Lenin won without a fight.
  • by chiph (523845) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:27PM (#8093968)
    My guess is the original PATRIOT Act writers wanted something like the "Giving Aid & Comfort to the Enemy" laws, but couldn't quite figure out how to get around the provision that they only applied during wartime (since Congress hasn't declared war on them, it can't apply).

    Chip H.
  • WHAT THE??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poofmeisterp (650750) on Monday January 26, 2004 @06:43PM (#8094147) Journal
    Why is it that the one part of the Patriot Act that is actually meaningful and somewhat beneficial is the one declared unconstitutional?

    I really need to find another country to move to.
    • Re:WHAT THE??? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      Meaningful and somewhat beneficial? Are you smoking something?

      Lets say that you work the helpdesk at WhizzyFast ISP. Someone calls you up, and asks you how to connect. You explain how the dialup process works, and step him through the settings he needs on his computer.

      Three days later the men in black put you in a cell and leave you there for a month or so without even telling you what you did (if you haven't been paying attention, this is Bush's favorite tactic).

      So what happened? Well, after the per
  • A-frigging-men (Score:4, Insightful)

    by localman (111171) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:33PM (#8094693) Homepage
    The PATRIOT act is very dangerous. It is a wonderful relief to see it challenged. Even if enacted with good intentions (a dubious claim at best), there is no organization that would not abuse such power. If you think otherwise you are terribly naive. Do not trust the government blindly.

    My grandfather was kidnapped and interrogated for five years by the Polish secret police because they were absolutely sure he was a spy. He wrote a book about it [snailshell.com]. It's an excellent read for anyone who wonders about the dark side of "national security".

    That all seemed, at the time, to be a failing of communism. But recent events remind me that it can happen any time and place that the people pledge thier uncritical allegiance to their leaders.

    I love this country and want it to be the best it can. With that in mind I keep a close eye on those in charge to be sure they don't run amok. I wish more people did. I hope enough do. The leaders have certainly been running amok in the past few years.

    Cheers.
  • by $criptah (467422) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:38PM (#8094737) Homepage
    we will always have the rest of the Constitution.
  • by isa-kuruption (317695) <`ten.noitpuruk' `ta' `noitpuruk'> on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:07PM (#8095180) Homepage
    OK, so maybe there are sections of the Patriot Act that are truly unconstitutional, but I do not think this is one of them.

    What part of the Constitution gives someone the right to assist any other person/group/organization? The freedom of speech? I think that's stretching it. But OK, but what if you were to give them something? That's not protected under the freedom of speech.

    And if it's unconstitutional, then why is it OK to give them "good" advise and not "bad" advise. What determines what is "good" and what is "bad"... wouldn't the first ammendment be the first ammendment no matter whether it's good or bad?

    But of course, this was the 9th District Court, and they haven't made a constitutional law decision that was actually based on the constitution in some time. Basically, the 9th just gave the OK for rogue organizations within the U.S. to give Al Qaida strategic information about oh... nuclear plants or chemical plants... without the risk of penalty.

    Good job 9th!

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