ACLU Drops Constitutional Challenge to Patriot Act Following Improvements in Act

Since the 9/11 attacks The American Civil Liberties Union has been working to keep the country safe from terrorism while maintaining our civil liberties, understanding that it would be a victory for terrorism if we abandoned the principles this nation was founded upon. There has been a partial victory in reducing the violations of civil liberties in the Patriot Act, leading the ACLU to drop their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the act:

The ACLU said it was withdrawing the lawsuit filed more than three years ago because of “improvements to the law.” The Justice Department argued last month that amendments approved by Congress in March 2006 had corrected any constitutional flaws in the Patriot Act.

“While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration’s most reckless policies,” Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU in New York, said in a written statement…

The ACLU argued that Section 215, which allows theFBI access to any “tangible things” such as books and documents through an order from a secret court, does not require investigators to show probable cause. It asked that the Justice Department be barred from using the provision…

[U.S. District Judge Denise Page] Hood ruled on Oct. 3 that the ACLU’s clients had shown they were harmed by the anti-terrorism law adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that the lawsuit could proceed. But the ruling came after the law had been amended, prompting the ACLU to drop its case.

The ACLU said it would continue to monitor how the government applied Section 215 and would remain ready to defend any individual, business or organization receiving demands for information under the provision.

The group also said it is continuing its legal fight against a more frequently used provision of the Patriot Act that authorizes national security letters. Such letters allow the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge’s approval or a grand jury subpoena.

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