Blog of Rights

The Latest on the Patriot Act

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 6:37pm

Have you caught your breath yet? In just 24 hours, we told you about an upcoming vote on the Patriot Act, over 1,000 of you took action through our Action Center (thank you!), and we won (!): On February 8, the House failed to get enough votes to extend the Patriot Act until Dec. 8, 2011. We hope you’ve celebrated.

We sure have. We added the Patriot Act extension vote to our Scorecard, and you can see how your member voted here (please let them know how you feel about their votes!), and our own fabulous Senior Policy Counsel and former FBI agent, Michael German, was quoted (twice) in Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) press release opposing Patriot Act reauthorization:

“The framers of the Constitution recognized that giving the government unchecked authority to pry into our private lives risked more than just individual property rights. These patriots understood from their own experience that political rights could not be secured without procedural protections. The Fourth Amendment mandates prior judicial review and permits warrants to be issued only upon probable cause.”

AND

“As Michael German put it “modern day patriots are willing to exchange our forbearers’ ‘don’t tread on me’ banner for a less inspiring one reading “if you aren’t doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.”

Well, now it’s time to get back to work and tell Congress once again that, really, we do care about our privacy and would prefer that the FBI confine its spying to individuals who there is probable cause to believe might be terrorists. Thankyouverymuch.

The House of Representatives voted today on a “rule” to govern floor debate on the Patriot Act reauthorization bill, and that ugly little bill will rear its head again – this time only for a simple majority vote – sometime next week. That means we need even more representatives to vote “no” than did this week, which also means we need even more of you to take action. Can we double or triple our number of action takers over the weekend? Come on…I dare you.

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