Patriot Act the USA Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1016 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … PATRIOT Act

The USA Patriot Act was passed in a hurry by the House of Representatives and the Senate in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The Act was immediately attacked by the civil libertarians as unnecessary and violative of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. administration and the Justice Department defend the law vehemently, considering it necessary for security reasons. This paper focuses on the criticism of the Patriot Act and the problems faced in its application. It also reviews the current public opinion about the Act.

Criticism of the Act

The leading critic of the PATRIOT Act has been the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has campaigned vigorously to get it overturned. Several other local and national civil liberty organizations across the country have also passed resolution against the law reflecting their disapproval. Some of the major criticisms against the Act are as follows:

Passed without Proper Scrutiny

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The bill is a complex and lengthy document that makes small as well as large changes to over 15 different statutes. The short time that the bill took to be passed and signed into law indicates that it was not thoroughly discussed and several Congress members have admitted that they did not read the bill while passing it. A number of key procedural processes applicable to most proposed laws, including inter-agency review, and normal committee and hearing processes were suspended during the passage of this bill. ("EFF Analysis...," 2003)

Records Searches

Section 215 of the Act expands the government's ability to look at records on an individual's activity being held by third parties. ("Surveillance under..." 2003)

Secret Searches

Section 213 of the Act allows the government to search private property without notice to the owner. Since giving of notice to a searched person is a key component of Fourth Amendment, this provision arguably violates the Amendment.

Term Paper on Patriot Act the USA Patriot Act Was Assignment

Intelligence Searches

Section 218 expands a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment that had been created for the collection of foreign intelligence information. Now the FBI can engage in secret searches without having to prove "probable cause" of a crime -- another violation of the Fourth Amendment requirements. (Lithwick and Turner, Part 3, 2003)

Nationwide "Pen Register" and "Trap & Trace" Warrants

The Act extends the validity of PR/TT orders issued by a judge anywhere in the United States. It also authorizes the issuance of a 'blank warrant' whereby the court issues an order and the law enforcement agency fills in the places to be searched. The ACLU calls this "a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment's explicit requirement that warrants be written particularly describing the place to be searched." ("Surveillance under..." 2003)

Lack of Judicial Review major criticism of the Patriot Act is that several parts of the law is that it does away with the provision of judicial review, which had always been a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution. It disturbs the "checks and balances" between various branches of the government, tilting the balance… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Patriot Act the USA."  Essaytown.com.  December 9, 2004.  Accessed July 7, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/patriot-act-usa/643119.