One of the most egregious parts of the “Patriot Act” is held unconstitutional

December 16, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

Yesterday, one of the most egregious parts of the “Patriot Act” was held unconstitutional by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.   This decision was a no-brainer, but you can never take things for granted.  The ACLU website summarizes the decision.   Here’s an excerpt:

A federal appeals court today upheld, in part, a decision striking down provisions of the Patriot Act that prevent national security letter (NSL) recipients from speaking out about the secret records demands. The decision comes in an American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the FBI’s authority to use NSLs to demand sensitive and private customer records from Internet Service Providers and then forbid them from discussing the requests. Siding with the ACLU, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the statute’s gag provisions violate the First Amendment.

The more you consider the offending provision of the so-called “Patriot Act,” the more disgusting it looks.  NSL requests were issued to people other than ISPs.  If you want to see an especially disturbing way that NSL provisions were used by “our” government in the real world, consider this previous post based on a report by Amy Goodman, who described several victimized librarians.

And consider this:

There is good reason to suspect that these NSL requests were being abused, given that 143,000 of them were issued between 2003 and 2005. Out of all of those NSL requests, only one of them led to a conviction in a terrorism case.


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Category: Censorship, Civil Rights, Law, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (1)

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  1. Tim Hogan says:

    Hey, 1 out of 143,000 isn't bad, eh?

    It's better than the "slam dunk" on WMD in Iraq.

    It's better than the percentage of cases where the Fed has justified coughing up over $1 trillion in bailouts for Wall Street. Or another $340 billion from the Treasury.

    Geez, whaddya want, some accountability? W don't need no accountability, he's got a "mandate!"

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