The Patriot Act: A breakdown and in-depth view of the unconstitionality of various aspects of the Patriot Act.

Essay by kerberos824University, Bachelor'sA+, February 2006

download word file, 10 pages 5.0

On September 11th, 2001 the United States experienced the worst attack on its soil in over a century. More people were killed in a single day than in the Pearl Harbor attack, not since the Civil War had U.S soil seen such bloodshed. In less than six weeks Congress passed the USA Patriot act, with effectively no debate or scrutiny. It was passed in great haste and secrecy in the name of the "War on Terrorism". The 342 page document consisted of sweeping legislations which removed the checks on law enforcement that are afforded for our protection under our Constitution, and many members of Congress have later admitted to not even reading it . Additionally, it expanded the government's authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on a number of powers such as judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court (ACLU,1).

Parts of the Patriot Act directly infringe on our First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, a blatant act of civil rights violation.

Unknown to many individuals many of the changes to citizen surveillance laws made by the Patriot Act were on a longstanding wish list of law enforcement members, which had been consistently turned down by Congress(ACLU, 7). Essentially the only reason that the Patriot Act was passed was that Congress was pressured by the Bush administration, with individuals being singled out as unpatriotic and terrorist sympathizers (Turner, 1). As stated earlier, many individuals decided to not bother reading the lengthy document. Congress and our Administration acted without a single effort to determine whether or not the terrorist attacks were due to weaknesses in our surveillance laws or if the changes that were being made would have impacted the outcome of the...