Of The Matter
Just 45 days
after the September 11 attacks, with virtually no debate, Congress
passed the USA
PATRIOT Act. Many parts
of this sweeping legislation take away checks on law enforcement
and threaten the very rights and freedoms that we are struggling
to protect. For example, without a warrant and without probable
cause, the FBI now has the power to access your most private
medical records, your library records, and your student records...
and can prevent anyone from telling you it was done.
The Department of Justice
is expected to introduce a sequel, dubbed "PATRIOT
ACT II", that would further erode key freedoms and
liberties of every American.
and many allies on the left and right believe that before giving
law enforcement new powers, Congress must first re-examine provisions
of the first PATRIOT ACT to ensure that is in alignment with
key constitutional protections.
In response to the passage of the USA Patriot Act, civil libertarians
- liberal and conservative – began a nationwide movement
pressuring city councils, universities, counties and even states
to pass resolutions barring the use of local policing resources
from being used on any federal investigation conducted under
the Patriot Act. Over 350 administrative
areas have already done just that.
On the local level, Wake
County ACLU responded to this by introducing the Raleigh
Patriot Act Resolution in the Raleigh City Council. The
main goal of the resolution was to insure that no policing or
other resources were contributed to any federal investigation
conducted under the Patriot Act since it is arguably unconstitutional.
The resolution was first sent on to a Human Rights Committee.
The committee made minor
alterations and sent it back to the Raleigh City Council
for approval. Eventually after a heated debate the Raleigh City
Council passed and even more altered version. This last version
simply affirmed that the Bill of Rights and the Constitution
are above any laws that are created by Congress including the