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ACLU Drops Challenge Over Patriot Act

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the declare-victory-and-withdraw dept.

274

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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I L U (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640647)

I love U.M.

I am so for my former post. I know the one I love and it is U.M.

Re:I L U (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640689)

I meant that I am sorry for my former post. All my anger and hate is going away, if not gone. I have made peace with the past. I live in the present. I have hope for the future.

I love U.M.

Goodbye slashdot.

"Reauthorized" (0)

Tet (2721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640657)

ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson stated: 'While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect [...]'

WTF is "reauthorized" meant to mean? How about "reauthored", or better, just "rewritten"? Sheesh.

Re:"Reauthorized" (2, Insightful)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640675)

Reauthorized means, passed through congress again. :P I think it's significant that congress was dumb enough to let it get by again without more of a fuss. But then, i suppose this isn't a subject that anybody could raise without getting tarred and feathered.

Re:"Reauthorized" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640681)

George Walker Bush doesn't "reauthor" or "rewrite." George Walker Bush reauthorizesmatizes! How dare you misunderestimate him?!

Re:"Reauthorized" (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642151)

It's all part of his brilliant strategery!

Bush League America (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642671)

Roll-over
Play dead

Soon, you won't be only playing

This time's for keeps

All America get the treatment

They showed the world before

Remember the Congo of Lumumba?

Iran of Mossadegh?

Of course not, dear. But we're bringing it all back home for you.

"Before your pride causes you to harden your heart and further close your ears, and before your ignorance provokes laughter, search the Christian Scriptures. Search even the histories of other nations that sat in the same positions of wealth, power, and authority that these white Americans now hold...and see what God did to them. If God's unchanging laws of justice caught up with every one of the slave empires of the past, how dare you think White America can escape the harvest of unjust seeds planted by her white forefathers against our black forefathers here in the land of slavery!"
-- Malcolm X [malcolm-x.org]

Re:"Reauthorized" (3, Informative)

bwd (936324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640707)

There was a sunset provision in the Patriot Act which required it to be reauthorized through a vote in both houses. Hence, it was reauthorized with some changes.

Re:"Reauthorized" (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643449)

There was a sunset provision in the Patriot Act which required it to be reauthorized through a vote in both houses.

I know, I know, the first one to invoke the Nazi comparison loses, but I just read an interesting historical tidbit that Hitler's Enabling Act [furnituref...people.com] also required it to be reauthorized after four years.

Re:"Reauthorized" (1, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640875)

WTF is "reauthorized" meant to mean?

Authorized again.

Re:"Reauthorized" (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640879)

WTF is "reauthorized" meant to mean?

      To give authority again. Has nothing to do with writing.

Re:"Reauthorized" (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642731)

To "Authorize" is to invest with authority. As in, "Bob authorized his broker to make trades for him". To reauthorize is to authorize again.

Patriot Pieties (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Patriot Pieties (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640731)

That would be evidence of the government working. Its far more politically empowering to point out how it fails and blame it on the opposition. Crap, did I say the government worked? It must be early.

Blame the opposition? (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640907)

You must have a bad case of time/perspective warp. The first patriot act was passed almost unanimously. It's hard to blame "the opposition" for anything when there was no opposition. Also, in this case, i assume you mean the Republican controlled House, Senate and Executive, which, being the complete majority in 2 of the 3 branches of our Federal Government, i can hardly fathom calling "opposition", since they in fact, dictate the entire course of our government, and have for the past 6 years.

But yes, by all means, criticize anybody who's "blam[ing] it on the opposition".

Re:Blame the opposition? (1)

finity (535067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641349)

Politics has always been a game of blame the opposition. When the Democrats swing back into power for a while, I'm sure the Republicans will start blaming them for everything that goes wrong. It's too bad we don't hear about what goes right every once in a while. I think our Nation's opinion of the war in Iraq would be a lot different if we did.

Re:Patriot Pieties (2, Insightful)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640853)

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 databases, sounds like a great idea, but apparently this isn't an IT project the government could handle building)

Re:Patriot Pieties (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Patriot (1020203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641097)

My only response to this would be to ask if you have any evidence that the ACLU has improved anything? I don't.

Re:Patriot Pieties (2, Informative)

calbanese (169547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641285)

idiot [lectlaw.com]

Re:Patriot Pieties (1, Insightful)

Mainusch (20215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641171)

Virtually no Americans have died in America from terrorist attacks following implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Now you might argue that this came at the cost of liberties, which I totally dispute. However, to say that the USA PATRIOT Act has accomplished nothing flies in the face of the last several years of demonstrable safety in the homeland versus terrorist attacks.

You must remember, the USA PATRIOT Act is largely just an adaptation of the RICO Act, extending it to those involved in terrorism. There were some limitations on law enforcement which prevented them from preventing terrorism. Some of those limitations have been modified by the USA PATRIOT Act to allow law enforcement to more properly function in this arena. That we are safer from terrorism as a result is obvious.

How much safer? Up for debate. Does it erode freedoms in the process? Up for debate. Has it made us safer? Obviously.

Clinton's watch (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641383)

After the first attack on the WTT, there were no more attacks on American soil. And that was done without the patriot act. So, by your level of proof, I guess that it "proves" that patriot act is not needed, just a pres. with a desire to prevent it.

To state that it has made us safer is up for debate as well. There is no proof that it done its job.

Re:Clinton's watch (0)

corbettw (214229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642611)

After the first attack on the WTT, there were no more attacks on American soil.

Except for Oklahoma City (not al Qaeda, but still a large terrorist attack).

Oh, and our embassies (an embassy is considered the soil of the country it represents).

Oh, and the USS Cole (ditto).

Oh, and 9/11 itself.

And those were all done without the Patriot Act. Which ones have occurred since then, and outside of war zones? And have other countries, without the Patriot Act, been attacked by terrorists since its passage (I ask to point out that terrorists are still active, so there must be some reason why they haven't attacked the US when they have attacked Bali, Spain, and the UK).

Re:Clinton's watch (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642885)

If you want to include our embassies, USS cole, etc, then by your definition, we have lost another 3K ppl (after all, we own the soil that our bases are located on). 9/11 occured because the current president dropped the ball, not because clinton did. It should be obvious to all that there was plenty of evidence. Simply put, W. did not make it a top priority.

Re:Patriot Pieties (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641491)

There's proof that the patriot act has made us safer? Where?

Re:Patriot Pieties (3, Insightful)

ssstraub (581289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641493)

"Has it made us safer? Obviously."

I wore a red shirt yesterday and a green shirt today. It was colder yesterday than it is today. Therefore, wearing a green shirt makes the temperature warmer.

How is this reasoning any different than yours? Correlation does not imply causation [tamu.edu]

Re:Patriot Pieties (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641509)

I haven't been attacked by tigers all my life. Clearly this is due to my tiger-repelling stone. To say that this stone has accomplished nothing flies in the face of the last twenty-one years of demonstrable safety versus tiger attacks.

1995 -> 2001 didn't have any significant terrorist attacks either. Change to 1996-2001 if you prefer to include the Unabomber as significant during that time period, though I'd argue that you'd then need to include the November 2001 anthrax-letter attacks (insignificant as they were, they were more so than late-period Unabomber IMO).

Re:Patriot Pieties (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641591)

Or to take the logic in the opposite direction: if the US were attacked tomorrow, would that prove that the Patriot Act was a bad idea?

Re:Patriot Pieties (2, Insightful)

dosquatch (924618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641609)

Virtually no Americans have died in America from terrorist attacks following implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Virtually no Americans died in America from terrorist attacks prior to the Patriot Act, either, excepting one particular day in September. I am far more inclined to attribute the relative safety of the past 5 years to status quo than to some hastily and ill-conceived piece of legislation, but that's just me.

That we are safer from terrorism as a result is obvious.

This is not obvious to me. That the Act mandates better comms between the alphabet soup agencies is a Good Thing, but at what cost? How many freedoms and liberties lost or curtailed? How much indignity? How much opacity added to the process?

I mean, do you really feel safer when Gatorade is banned from airline flights? I think the continuous fostering of unfounded paranoia does us more regular damage. After all, if the point of terrorism is to make us feel fear and thereby use it as a weapon, and that is bad, then I can see no good in the fear mongering of our own elected officials. That is the real and continuing cost of 9/11.

Re:Patriot Pieties (2, Insightful)

Eljas (911123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641643)

I have a stone that protects from tigers that I think you would like to buy...

Re:Patriot Pieties (1)

sniperawd (1008029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641667)

i have to agree with you on that

Re:Patriot Pieties (1)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642137)

Sooner or later, the ACLU is going to deem the constitution unconstitutional.

Let's face it, they are a political organization, and not nonpartisan by any means.

Re:Patriot Pieties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16642233)

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.

Any big piece of legislation is going to have good and bad in it. I think the problem with the Patriot Act is that for all the good administrative changes that it specifically authorized, it did some real damage to the rights of Americans to be secure from unreasonable searches. Specifically, that the government no longer needs a search warrant to compel release of confidential records.

Re:Patriot Pieties (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642357)

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:Patriot Pieties (2, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642567)

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 meant for a Seattle landmark.

We keep forgetting that there were two attacks on the World Trade Center. The first, in 1993, wound up with the plotters rotting in prison. Normal police powers were enough for that.

BTW the next time somebody says that the "moonbats" were just scaremongering about library records, point them to the 2005 Connecticutt case.

So They Lost and Declared Victory (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640755)

because they got modest tweaks.

Seems like they realized the courts weren't sympathetic to their legal arguments.

Re:So They Lost and Declared Victory (0, Flamebait)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641193)

Nah, they probably just couldn't milk it for any more donation money to prop up their "causes" any more.

So this is how the ACLU Says: (0)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640775)

"Ooops, we couldn't win in court. So, instead will say that we stemmed the tide on the abuse of our liberties."

What's funny is that what they aren't talking about is the millions of dollars they cost the taxpayers in legal fees on a case they couldn't win.

Thanks ACLU. Thanks for increasing government expenditures and taking money out of my pocket.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640851)

Oh, you're right. The government would operate so much more efficiently if there were no descent. Let's just get rid of the judicial system and the legislature, too. They're just wastes of my hard earned dollars!

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640899)

ITYM "dissent," but, as it happens, yours works too.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643095)

My sig seems to be an appropriate response.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (3, Informative)

autocracy (192714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640867)

They won the case against the version of the PATRIOT act which has already expired. The judge didn't rule on the current version. It really wasn't a waste.

huh? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641111)

"They won the case against the version of the PATRIOT act which has already expired. The judge didn't rule on the current version. It really wasn't a waste."

How is it not a waste to win a case against something that did not exist anymore? It makes as much sense as trying a dead man in court.

Re:huh? (3, Informative)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641353)

How is it not a waste to win a case against something that did not exist anymore? It makes as much sense as trying a dead man in court.

Because the law DID exist when they filed the case. The reason it "doesn't exist" anymore is that there was a sunset (ie expiration) clause built into the bill. Congress could have chosen to reauthorize PATRIOT 100% exactly as it had been passed before. Instead, they rewrote sections of it to give back some of the civil rights they had previously taken. In all likelihood it was the ACLU's initial court victory that convinced the government that it needed to tweak section 215 to make it more constitutional.

A case doesn't HAVE to get to the SCOTUS to convince Congress to rewrite a law, you know. If they see the writing on the wall, they're free to change it before they get ordered to. And therein lies the victory here.

thanks (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641417)

Makes sense now.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640973)

"Ooops, we couldn't win in court. So, instead will say that we stemmed the tide on the abuse of our liberties."

The important thing is that they made a lot of noise to shake money out of their donors.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640975)

I almost fell off my chair laughing! The US government of today absolutely dwarfs the US government of only 50, let alone 100 years ago, both in revenue and power over the people. How much of this expansion of government can be attributed to lawsuits attempting to slow the inevitable downward spiral into oppression? I reckon maybe 0.00001%, what do you say?

Something tells me there just might be bigger fish to fry!

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (2, Insightful)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641385)

Right. What slays me is the regular folk who are so partisan in favor of one political party or the other. Give me a break! The party in power always grabs more power and the opposition tries to stop them. Why? Duh...to stay in power. When the winds of political change come, all they do they switch places.

People may originally get into politics for noble reasons but, eventually, it becomes about "doing business." And whether they are Republicans or Democrats it makes no difference. Eventually the media-government-business complex will select from among the candidates that they can "do business" with (sorry for ending my sentence with a preposition). What, you thought that you actually had a choice? Get real.

Like the old saw goes, power corrupts. But what gets me is these self-righteous A-holes who honestly think they they wouldn't be corrupted by it.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640995)

Thanks ACLU. Thanks for increasing government expenditures and taking money out of my pocket.


Like the Republicans who currently control the purse strings wouldn't have found a way to increase government expenditures and take money out of your pocket.

You know, like wanting to prosecute Jose Padilla as a terrorist, holding this american citizen in jail for three years without counsel then dropping all terror related charges and finally settling on a charge of aiding terrorists in a civil, not military, court.

Seems that the government knew its case wasn't going to fly so it settled on lesser charges and claimed victory. After spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money on legal fees on a case they couldn't win.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643073)

You know, like wanting to prosecute Jose Padilla as a terrorist, holding this american citizen in jail for three years without counsel then dropping all terror related charges and finally settling on a charge of aiding terrorists in a civil, not military, court.

You mean they sued him? Meaning that "aiding terrorists" is not a criminal offense? Or did you mean to say that they charged him in a civilian, but criminal (rather than civil), court? (I'm not implying you're wrong; I just don't know and want to find out.)

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641057)

Government lawyers don't work on billable hours, they're paid a set salary. So really, unless the government hired outside counsel or more attorneys to deal with the problem, they didn't cost taxpayers much.

Of course, the state of Indiana recently gave a lot of money to the speaker of the Indiana House's old law firm buddy to help the state appeal a ruling regarding prayer in the statehouse.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

yoder (178161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641321)

I'm going to imagine for the sake of argument that you wrote that in all seriousness. So making the government explain itself is bad? Trying to make the government more transparent is bad? Or is it just bad that they failed, while 99% of the country sat with their thumbs up their asses watching "Survivor" without the slightest clue or even the desire to have a clue about what is going on around them in this country?

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (1)

Arramol (894707) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641369)

Frankly, I don't mind them spending my money on legal fees when it's court battles such as this. Even if they aren't likely to win, it's nice to know someone's trying.

Re:So this is how the ACLU Says: (2, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643115)

Thanks ACLU. Thanks for increasing government expenditures and taking money out of my pocket.

Couldn't you use this argument to discontinue the wasteful and inefficient practice of holding elections?

it's about the lawyers (1)

slightcrazed (973882) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640801)

Most Lawyers I know don't drop a case unless they know that they have no chance of winning, and that doesn't happen often, because they most likely would not have taken the case in the first place. Isn't it possible that the ACLU's arguments were just bunk and the lawyers decided it was better to cut and run?

Re:it's about the lawyers (4, Interesting)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640905)

Isn't it possible that the ACLU's arguments were just bunk and the lawyers decided it was better to cut and run?

Or they see some change happening in Congress in the near future and decided that might be a better way to fix the problem.

Re:it's about the lawyers (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640919)

If they lose and lose badly in court, people wouldn't be able to complain about all the lost liberties due to the Patriot Act. Now, people can still say we are losing unnamed liberties without having to establish that belief with legal reasoning.

FRIST PSOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640865)

FRIST PSOT

I know why they did it (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640953)

They dropped this case because they felt they needed to divert more of their efforts to protecting the Second Amendment.

That's not funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641259)

The ACLU is an even bigger opponent of the RKBA than the Clintons.

Re:That's not funny. (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641323)

Yes, it's quite a struggle.

Re:I know why they did it (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641687)

The second amendment is under attack?

Re:I know why they did it (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642099)

Yeah.

Re:I know why they did it (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642761)

Please cite the bill/amendment in congress that would limit the second amendment.

Re:I know why they did it (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643141)

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.

I forget (0, Flamebait)

aurelian (551052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642273)

I'm not American, so remind me which one the Second Amendment is again - is it the one which enshrines the right of every citizen to carry automatic assault rifles?

Re:I forget (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642429)

It's the one that protects every American's right to give assault rifles to bears, actually. Or maybe it's the one that protects our right to keep our arms uncovered. Something like that.

Re:I know why they did it (1)

brother_b (16716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643251)

FWIW, the 2nd is the one Amendment that the ACLU doesn't give a rat's ass about, other than wishing it wasn't there.

Please fix your country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16640971)

I was wondering when you Americans are going to fix your country. You have a responsibility not to become a fascist dictatorship since it could really screw up the balance of power between ideologically fucked up countries like China and North Korea.
When is you next election? I can run your country better than Chairman Bush any day.

Vote Anonymous coward for Chairman in 200x election. If you don't then you hate children. You don't hate children, do you?

Re:Please fix your country (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641507)

When is you next election?
November. I assume you mean when is the next presidential election. That takes place in November, 2008.

Re:Please fix your country (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641807)

Our next presidential election is November, 2008, but we can take a big step towards fixing things if we take enough congressional seats away from Republicans. The way things are now, republicans can pass anything they want through congress and get it approved at the presidency. If Democrats get some control back in congress and/or the senate, we'll start seeing more of what our country was founded on: compromise.

Re:Please fix your country (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642665)

If Democrats get some control back in congress and/or the senate, we'll start seeing more of what our country was founded on: compromise.

Really? I thought our country was founded on revolution. Silly me.

Re:Please fix your country (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643201)

Democrats, or any other party. Don't forget that -- some of us (me not included, sadly) live in places where a third-party candidate might have a decent chance, and we shouldn't discourage them.

Re:Please fix your country (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642071)

No, but if you like puppies, you have to vote for this guy. [youtube.com] (A real campaign ad, by the way. Sometimes I wonder about my decision to move to Maryland.)

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641051)

Either that, or they were -made aware- that their resistance, fighting the Patriot Act, made them 'unlawful enemy combatants' in the broad definition of the term... >_>

Here's a thought... (3, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641101)

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:Here's a thought... (2, Informative)

harks (534599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642799)

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.

Wouldn't it be funny if (2, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641255)

a story about "The Patriot Act" appeared on /. and nobody commented on it because they were afraid to?

Re:Wouldn't it be funny if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641847)

a story about "The Patriot Act" appeared on /. and nobody commented on it because they were afraid to?

no.

Re:Wouldn't it be funny if (1)

uujjj (752925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642125)

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.

Declare Victory and Go Home (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641339)

Where have we heard this before? When will we hear it again?

Re:Declare Victory and Go Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641611)

Sad but true.

Just another indication of why I think Dubya may have in fact ignited the slide into irreversible despotism.

I can see the ACLU in five years saying they have given up on fighting the President's new right to pick somebody up off the street, "non-torture" (TM - U.S. pending) out a confession and give them a "fair" execution.

But the ACLU will no doubt monitor that situation on a case-by-case basis. [If they can get hold of the confidential detention records.]

It's just boiling the frog until we get our Roman up enough to start cruxifying dissidents along freeways.

Re:Declare Victory and Go Home (1)

Krojack (575051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641773)

But the ACLU will no doubt monitor that situation on a case-by-case basis. [If they can get hold of the confidential detention records.]


<sarcasm>THATS AN INVASION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES!!! NO MONITORING OF ANYTHING ALLOWED!!</sarcasm>

Why are you all insulting the ACLU?!?!?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16641443)

I thought you leftists loved the ACLU!

Open borders, millions of illegals, state-sponsered religions as long as they aren't Christianity, millions in tax payer money squandered on Communist agenda items, hell whats not to love??

Habeus Corpus (1)

I*Love*Green*Olives (970493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641621)

Given the government has suspended habeus corpus, and what we know of the many abuses which occurred the LAST time this happened, this doesn't surprise me at all.

Why fight when your enemy can change the rules of engagement on a whim? Why fight a battle which cannot be won? How many people are still in custody without trial despite the ACLU's best efforts?


America is dead. Long Live America.

--I*Love*Green*Olives

Re:Habeus Corpus (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642695)

Given the government has suspended habeus [sic] corpus

That's a lie, habeas corpus was not suspended. It was just clarified that non-citizen enemy combatants do not enjoy that right. Unless you want Osama to have access to an attorney?

Re:Habeus Corpus (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643361)

It was just clarified that non-citizen enemy combatants do not enjoy that right.
Amendment 5: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It says "no person," not "no citizen" or "no non-combatant" or anything else. It means no person, period. That includes Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, and Satan himself. In other words, your "clarification" is explicitly unconstitutional!

Unless you want Osama to have access to an attorney?

You betcha! What, are you afraid he'd somehow manage to win anyway? Don't you have any confidence in our laws and the ability of the US prosecution to put forth enough evidence to convict him?

Now if we can (1, Insightful)

Krojack (575051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641683)

succeed in stemming the damage from ACLU. I'm willing to give up some of my freedoms and rights for a while. I have no problem with it. Also the none of my civil rights have been broken. I don't know why everyone feels the government will be listening to EVERY phone call that gets made anywhere in America. Its just not possible to monitor them all. They monitor incoming international calls from certain people and outgoing international calls to certain people. They aren't listening to you talking to your grandma and could care less about that.

Its all find and dandy that the ACLU is trying to protect my civil liberties but when they are pushing to have a cross on the side of a road where someone has died be removed or pushing to have a stone ten commandments be removed, how are these civil liberties away from anyone? Also the ACLU standing up and demanding that all prisoners of war, regardless of what they did be released if the evidence against them is not made public.

the ACLU needs to be investigated in my opinion.

Re:Now if we can (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641765)

"Its all find and dandy that the ACLU is trying to protect my civil liberties but when they are pushing to have a cross on the side of a road where someone has died be removed or pushing to have a stone ten commandments be removed, how are these civil liberties away from anyone?"

That's one of the many examples where the ACLU works to censor expression. I don't think they need to be "investigated". However, they can do more work to protect individual rights instead of fight against them, as they sometimes do. Examples of this include the pro-censorship fights, and instances where the ACLU fights for policies that deny individuals their rights based on skin color as part of meeting "diversity" policies.

Re:Now if we can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16642339)

> That's one of the many examples where the ACLU works to censor expression.

What part of establishment of religion don't you understand?

Re:Now if we can (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642403)

"What part of establishment of religion don't you understand?"

It looks like you don't understand it. This part of the Bill of Rights is certainly not a justification for censoring individual expression that happens to be "religious." What part of "abridging the freedom of speech" do you not understand?

Re:Now if we can (2, Insightful)

davewalthall (878247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642693)

I would be very upset if the ACLU tried to prevent *individuals* from expressing their religious beliefs. However, I'm very much in favor of the ACLU's fight to remove *governmental* expressions of religion. The ten commandments that the ACLU fought against were not displayed in front of a (private citizen's) house, they were in front of a public courthouse. There was no "individual expression," it was a government sponsored display of religion. If the judge who erected the ten commandments had put them in front of his own house, I would have supported him.

Re:Now if we can (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643465)

The problem is that displays of crosses on the right of way of the road, which is government owned land, and the display of religious artifacts such as monuments to the ten commandments amount to an apparent endorsement, by the government, of religion, said religion almost always being Christianity. For example, I do not recall a single instance of seeing Shiva in a house of legislature, a voodoo altar at an accident site, or a monument to Ayn Rand on a courthouse lawn. When we talk about the US government's sponsorship of religion, It is Christianity first, last, and always.

Now, if some farmer wants to put up crosses in his field, or a church wants to put up religious monuments on church property, or any private citizen wants to erect a shrine to whomever, these are all examples of free expression by the citizens and as such, they are what the constitution seems to be worded to protect. It would be very difficult, I think, to read the first amendment as anything but encouraging the citizen and discouraging the government with regard to religious expression.

Remember the times: This country was founded by people who had been ruthlessly suppressed by the British government because the religion they followed was not that of the state. In 1789, when James Madison introduced the first tentative bill of rights, feelings were very strong that one religious sect or another must not gain religious control of the people through the mechanism of the government.

Madison's suggestion regarding religion read as follows:

The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

That was whittled down to this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

This final version of this idea prevents the establishment of a national religion, and also prohibits government aid to any religion, even on an non-exclusive basis, or so the courts have said until very recently.

Now, there are state constitutions that read slightly differently; however, the supreme court has interpreted the due process clause of the 14th amendment to mean that states may not override this particular section of the bill of rights (the 1st amendment is part of the bill of rights.)

So this means that states shouldn't be putting religious symbols on road right of ways, either, nor should they be erecting monuments to any particular religion's artifacts, creeds, or personalities.

Remember: The bill of rights assigns rights to the people. It takes them away from the government. So you can't really argue that telling the government it can't erect religious artifacts suppressed the speech of the people based on the 1st amendment. It suppresses the ability of the government to tacitly or directly sponsor religion, and that is clearly what the intent of the framers was, not to mention the authors of the bill of rights. The problem, as always, is that when a government expresses a preference for a religion, those who do not follow that religion either are, or feel they are, being marginalized. This is a situation that it is very important to avoid, specifically so that no citizen's expression of religion is likely to be curtailed by concerns about how the government might react to that expression.

Finally, as the government's support of religion is almost exclusively Christian — crosses at the roadside, the ten commandments, Christmas displays, creches, etc. — it is clear that the current situation serves to discommode anyone who isn't a Christian. Therefore it would seem obvious, at least to me, that we have arrived at precisely the birthing of religious sponsorship the 1st amendment was designed to prevent us from getting to.

You can see the problem arising on many levels of government. George Bush Sr's pronouncement, as president: "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God." The aforementioned monuments, artifacts and displays. "In god we trust" on our money. Prayers in the congress. "faith-based" initiatives. "Under god" in the pledge of allegiance. The presence, and use, of bibles in the courtroom (this is probably one of the worst offenses... one's freedom can depend on how the judge perceives one's reaction to swearing on a bible.)

A citizen should be able to make any religious affirmation (or denial) they please. Or not. Absolutely. But when the government gets involved, even with a "suggestion" that a bible be used to endorse or coerce one's word, the "freedom" to say a thing one believes on one's own becomes the coercion, however subtle, to say the thing the government seems to want you to believe on its behalf in order to deflect the government's enormous power to ruin one's life in any number of creative ways. And consequently, freedom cannot be said to be enhanced by government sponsorship, again however subtle, of religion. Best it be left to the citizens.

Re:Now if we can (1)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641933)

You know, you're right. Government monitoring of suspicious communications likely increases the chance of catching a criminal or an enemy agent. Know what would increase the chances even more? Government monitoring of all communications, all movements, all public and private activities. And when the government has perfect intelligence on every person associated with the U.S., when every terrorist has been found and a terrorist attack in the US becomes quit impossible, who will save us from our government?

Re:Now if we can (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16643423)

when [the ACLU is] pushing to have a cross on the side of a road where someone has died be removed

I'd be very interested if you would provide a source for this, because frankly, I don't believe you. Either that, or there's significantly more to the story than you're mentioning (e.g., the cross was put there by the state, or it was on public property and the owner wanted it removed, or something like that).

As a conservative leaning libertarian... (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16641751)

...I usually despise the ACLU. But, in cases like this, I hate to see them back down.

I want my small government that Reagan promised me.

so ... they got to you ... (1)

Apoklypse (853837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642107)

so they even finally got to the mighty ACLU ... Fuehrer Bush is winning ...

What next ... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642193)

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.

They don't even use the powers they have (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642355)

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 to get rich, etc. to have a safe ticket to whacking anyone who crosses us.

But instead we have "professionals" like the former head of the FBI counter-terrorism group who had virtually no experience with fighting terrorism or counter-insurgency operations when he signed up. Yes, once again, a government monopoly on using force really helps.

Anyone want to bet that the ACLU would have gone nuts if Congress had issued a LMR for Bin Laden and any of his associates "dead or alive" on 9-11?

Re:They don't even use the powers they have (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16642709)

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.

ACLU's heavy Democratic Party Tilt (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16643401)

The ACLU never really had a case. It's been virtually silent about the far more draconian measures the Europeans are using to fight terrorism, particularly the French. It's real purpose was to attack the Republicans and puff the Democrats. With an election now upon us, their political agenda is complete. Rightly or wrongly, they think the Democrats are about to take over at least one side of Congress, hence the need to quickly mute their criticism.

And we should never forget what happened at Waco under Clinton/Reno, something that didn't tie the ACLU's underwear into knots. A group whose only flaw was some rather rather weird religious ideas (along with sexual practices not that different from Clinton's), was so brutally attacked, it resulted in the largest mass death of a civilian population by an action of our government since the Indian Wars over a century ago. That's dead people, not a government bureaucrat finding out you checked out some porn flick from your local library. Dead as in totally and utterly dead. Dead as in dying in a way we'd never permit for the execution of a serial rapist, killer and child molester. And the dead included children and teenagers.

The tear gas used in Clinton's Waco raid is not only banned in war by the Geneva Convention, exposed to flames it turns into a lethal cynanide compound. One 13-year-old girl exposed to that gas had convulsions so violent, her bones were broken.

But Clinton is a liberal and a Democrat, so the ACLU found no need to launch a propaganda campaign. Nothing new there. In the 1920s, the ACLU's founder wrote a book, Liberty Under the Soviets, that praised the Soviet Union under Stalin.

The ACLU. It's not about civil rights. It's about who is in power.

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