Jim Cornehls Source #4

Jim Cornehls Source #4 - The Patriot Act Violates Civil...

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The Patriot Act Violates Civil Liberties Table of Contents: Further Readings Jim Cornehls, "The USA PATRIOT Act : The Assault on Civil Liberties," Z Magazine , vol. 16, July 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Jim Cornehls. Reproduced by permission. The Patriot Act threatens civil liberties in numerous ways, argues Jim Cornehls in the following viewpoint. Passed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 , the complex, 342-page act defines terrorism so broadly that it encompasses constitutionally protected acts of civil disobedience, claims Cornehls. With little or no oversight, he contends, the act grants broad police powers that sidestep constitutional controls on the surveillance, arrest, and prosecution of American citizens. Cornehls is a professor and director of the Law and Public Policy Graduate Certificate Program in the School of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Texas at Arlington. As you read, consider the following questions: 1. According to Cornehls, the Patriot Act 's broad definition of terrorism might encompass the activities of what organizations? 2. What must the government assert in order for the courts to issue warrants and orders under the Patriot Act , in the author's view? 3. In the author's opinion, what is different about the Patriot Act 's restrictions and earlier restrictions on civil rights? September 11, 2001 , marked a momentous and tragic event in U.S. history. It also evoked a flood of patriotic fervor and an instant fear that Americans now were vulnerable to international terrorism. Capitalizing on these fears, the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government quickly enacted measures purported to counteract terrorism or terrorist threats. One of the principal results of this activity was an act titled "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 ," or, the USA PATRIOT Act , passed and signed into law by President [George W.] Bush on October 26, 2001 . The USA PATRIOT Act is one of the most sweeping acts in modern American history because of its potential impact on the civil liberties of U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States. A Complex Law It is hard to believe the Act could have been drafted, debated, and passed in only 45 days. It is over 342 pages long and extremely complicated. Given its complexity, and the fact the legislation represented a wish list of new investigative and detention powers long sought by law enforcement officials, it is more likely the pro-law enforcement Administration had been drafting such provisions for many months. Post- September 11 provided the perfect opportunity to introduce them, with very little Congressional or public opposition. The Senate voted for the Act 98 to 1 and the House 356 to 66. The vast majority of Americans never even heard of it at the time. The
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course CWP 101 taught by Professor Mckinnis during the Fall '08 term at Buffalo State.

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Jim Cornehls Source #4 - The Patriot Act Violates Civil...

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