Blogs > Cliopatria > The Patriot Act Wasn't Given Real Scrutiny

Dec 23, 2005 1:10 am


The Patriot Act Wasn't Given Real Scrutiny



[The writer is a professor at New York Law School.]

Rudolph W. Giuliani says that the USA Patriot Act was passed "after six weeks of intense scrutiny and debate." This is historical revisionism.

This measure was rushed through Congress so quickly that most members had no idea of the details embedded in it. Great changes in security procedures were put through without considered debate, in frantic reaction to the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Most House Democrats were not even given a copy of the bill until shortly before the vote.

At the time, many observers described the bill as a compendium of extreme proposals that had been repeatedly rejected in the past as inconsistent with our nation's traditions of respect for personal privacy and due process of law.

Whatever the merits of renewing the measure now, let's not pretend that its original adoption was part of a careful, measured and deliberative process.

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