Rethinking the Patriot Act: Keeping America Safe and Free

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Century Foundation Press, 2005 - Law - 163 pages

The USA Patriot Act One is of the most controversial and possibly one of the most misunderstood laws Congress has ever enacted. For many Americans, it is synonymous with an egregious and unjustifiable suspension of the Bill of Rights. Others, troubled but more cautious, identify the Patriot Act with the grant of unprecedented powers that put civil liberties at some risk. Many who reject these concerns nonetheless accept their underlying assumption —that the Patriot Act does indeed give the federal government a package of powerful new search and surveillance tools.In Rethinking the Patriot Act, Stephen J. Schulhofer explains the act's most important provisions and reviews the best information currently available to gauge their usefulness and their effects in practice. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Schulhofer argues that much of the Patriot Act was essential, and some of it, if not essential, was reasonably defensible. In fact, the act includes provisions —seldom noticed —that add new protections for certain civil liberties, extend new benefits to certain immigrant groups, and provide new remedies for violations of individual rights. Nonetheless, Schulhofer concludes, many of the act's new powers are far too broad, and even where the case for broad powers is strong, they were typically conferred with little effort to assure transparency and accountability.

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Foreign Intelligence
Accessing Documents and Records
Enhanced Powers in Conventional

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About the author (2005)

Sephen J. Schulhofer is the Robert B.McKay Professor of Law at New York University Law School. From 1986 until 2000, he was director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago, where he was the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law, and he served for many years as a consultant to the United States Sentencing Commission. He is the author of The Enemy Within: Intelligence Gathering, Law Enforcement, and Civil Liberties in the Wake of September 11 (Century Foundation Press, 2002).

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