Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fourth Amendment

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This amendment is a very touchy issue these days because the goverment is constantly creating ways to sidestep this amendment. The terror attacks of 9/11 gave the gorvernment a loophole in the system. I think that The Patriot Act is clad in the armor of good intentions, which makes it hard for Americans to stand up against it. I dont think the goverment should be allowed to come into my house and look through my things unless they have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that I have nuclear war heads in my closet.





Senate Committee Passes Patriot Act Reauthorization Bill
Bill Does Not Go Far Enough to Protect Americans’ Privacy, Says ACLU
WASHINGTON - October 8 - The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the USA PATRIOT Act Extension Act of 2009 today, a bill which falls far short of restoring the necessary civil liberties protections lacking in the original Patriot Act. The bill, passed by the committee after two sessions of debate, makes only minor changes to the disastrous Patriot Act and was further watered down by amendments adopted during markup. The American Civil Liberties Union had endorsed the JUSTICE Act, an alternative bill that would heavily reform not only the Patriot Act but other overly broad surveillance laws.
Amendments that were offered but failed by voice vote included an amendment by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to curb the abuse of the overly broad National Security Letter (NSL) statute and another offered by Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) to allow the "lone wolf" provision to expire (the never-used provision that targets individuals who are not connected to terrorist groups). An amendment also failed that would make it more difficult for recipients to challenge the gag order that comes with receiving an NSL.
However, there were two amendments included in the final bill - both offered by Senator Feingold - that are victories for privacy: The Department of Justice would be ordered to discard any illegally obtained information received in response to an NSL and the government must notify suspects of "sneak and peek" searches within seven days instead of the thirty days currently outlined in the statute. "Sneak and peek" searches allow the government to search a home without notifying the resident immediately.
The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"We are disappointed that further changes were not made to ensure Americans' civil liberties would be adequately protected by this Patriot Act legislation. This truly was a missed opportunity for the Senate Judiciary Committee to right the wrongs of the Patriot Act and stand up for Americans' Fourth Amendment rights. The meager improvements made during this markup will certainly be overshadowed by allowing so many horrible amendments to be added to an already weak bill. Congress cannot continue to make this mistake with the Patriot Act again and again. We urge the Senate to adopt amendments on the floor that will bring this bill in line with the Constitution."

The fourth amendment has become a very controversial issue in the last few years with the Patriot Act. I, personally, dont have anything to hide from police searches so it is not that big of an issue to me but I still dont think the idea that the government can come and violate your privacy is okay.

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