ACLU Denounces Senator Roberts' Patriot Act Expansion Bill, Says Constitutional Rights Need to Be Protected, Not Further Eroded

June 17, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON -Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) formally introduced legislation today designed to reauthorize – and expand – the Patriot Act. The American Civil Liberties Union today denounced the proposal, and called upon lawmakers to bring the act in line with the Constitution by restoring proper checks and balances.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“The Roberts proposal comes at a time when many realize that the Patriot Act needs to be reformed, not expanded. His bill would give law enforcement extraordinary powers, like allowing the FBI to issue and execute its own “administrative subpoenas,” or records search orders, without meaningful checks and balances, even when the government is not investigating criminal activity. His committee rejected fair-minded proposals to limit this awesome power to emergencies. If enacted, the Roberts bill would weaken the Fourth Amendment and all its protections. This effort is completely out of step with growing bipartisan concerns that the Patriot Act went too far and needs to be reformed – not expanded.”

“This expansion of Patriot Act powers, backed by the Administration, comes as bipartisan calls for reform have grown louder. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adopted a measure that would effectively prohibit the FBI from accessing library and bookstore records under section 215 of the Patriot Act – this vote was approved by a bipartisan majority of 238 to187. Nationwide, nearly 400 communities, including seven states, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to amend the Patriot Act to properly balance security and liberty. Congress must listen.”

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:
http://www.reformthepatriotact.org

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