The Patriot Act Undermines Our Constitutional Rights!

POSTED: 2 February 2004 - 6:15pm

Cartoon by Ted Rall: 10 April 2003

The Patriot Act was rushed through congress in response to the attacks on 9-11. The act takes away many basic civil rights guaranteed by our constitution in the Bill of Rights.

Some of the provisions of the Patriot Act include:
Expanding the terrorism laws to include “domestic terrorism”, which allows surveillance, wiretapping and harassment of law abiding political organizations.

This provision threatens Freedom of Speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The fear is that anyone who speaks out against the war or Bush’s policy might be considered a terrorist threat. Sounds like Fascism in Germany before World War Two, or maybe Communist Russia under Stalin. Freedom of Speech and Expression is a basic founding principle of the United States. Let’s keep it!

Expanding the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, including phone and internet surveillance, and access to personal, medical, financial and student records with minimal judicial oversight.

This provision violates Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. These searches can be done without your knowledge. The very idea of a “secret search” is unconscionable in a free and open democratic society.
Allowing the FBI to investigate American citizens for criminal matters without probable cause of crime if for “intelligence purposes”.
This violates Due Process and Equal Protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. We don’t need a return to the shameful practices of the McCarthy era.

Permitting non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and to be denied readmission to the US for engaging in free speech. Suspects convicted of no crime may be detained indefinitely in six month increments without meaningful judicial review.

This provision violates the Fifth Amendment guaranteeing no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. It also violates the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. The Eighth Amendment also guarantees no excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fourteenth requires that all persons (citizens and non-citizens) within the US are entitled to due process and the equal protection of the laws. Hundreds of legal resident aliens of Middle Eastern descent have been unjustly detained under these provisions. We are also holding Afghanistan soldiers at Guantanamo in Cuba, in violation of our own constitution and International Law regarding treatment of prisoners of war.

President Bush wants to renew the Patriot Act. The Justice Department is expected to introduce the The Patriot Act II--the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act” which would further erode personal privacy by increasing government surveillance powers, increase official secrecy so that we won’t even know what we’re being subjected to.

Congress is considering a Security and Freedom Ensured Act, also called the SAFE Act, which would limit and “fix” the worse provisions of the Patriot Act. The Act has bipartisan support, and is being sponsored by Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Sununu (R-NH, and Russell Feingold (D-WI).

Act now to take back our Freedoms!
Call, write, or e-mail Congress and the President to urge repeal of the Patriot Act, or at least urge them to pass the SAFE act, and oppose Patriot II--the Domestic Security Enhancement Act”. Tell them we want our freedoms back. We will not allow the terrorists to win by losing our freedom and democracy in response to the 9-11 attack. We can be Safe and Free!

US House of Representatives: 2nd District, Kauai:
Ed Case:
Washington DC Office:
128 Cannon HOB
Washington DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4906
Fax: 202-225-4987
Honolulu Office:
5104 Prince Kuhio Federal Bldg
Honolulu HI 96850
Phone: 808-541-1986
Fax: 808-538-0233

US Senators from Hawaii:
Daniel Akaka:
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6361

Daniel Inouye:
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3934
President of the United States

George W. Bush:
Phone: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202-456-2461
Address:The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20500Editor’s Note:

Most of this information was obtained from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website. For more information, check:


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