Saturday, February 04, 2006

Congress Extends Patriot Act Another Five Weeks

"Lawmakers remain at loggerheads in attempting to renew 16 controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act, voting to give the provisions a second five-week extension to continue negotiations."

Sigh, wouldn't is be nice if they created laws with names that met with what they were intended to do. Lets replace Patriot Act, with "Hey, if your not going to use those Rights over there, mind if I take them?"
Serriously, before you go off on not supporting the Patriot Act, read up on what it does, and don't be so quick to say that those powers will never be used on such an outsanding citizen as yourself, those rights were put in place for a reason :P

read more | digg story

I posted my feelings on the subject in the comments section as follows:

In all honesty, those who are willing to give up their freedoms at a drop of a hat like so many have, most likely have never had to call upon those freedoms in the first place. I have never been arrested, and never plan to be, but if there was ever the case where I was pulled into custody, I have the comfort knowing that I have the legal right to an attorney, regardless if I am innocent or guilty. One of the powers the Patriot Act was seen in the Jose Padilla case, otherwise known as the "dirty bomber" case.

May 8, 2002, Padilla was picked up as a material witness while flying into Chicago O'Hare Airport. A month later, he was classified as an "enemy combatant" and transferred to a Navy Brig, where he was prevented from seeing his lawyers for two years. Now REGARDLESS of how you feel about Jose Padilla, I am using this for an example of what exactly what has occurred in the wake of the Patriot Act . The Patriot Act allows for executive arrests and the suspension of habeas corpus of immigrants. It also allowed the gray area for Padilla to fall into, as an American citizen listed as an enemy combatant.

But this then begs the question, what is habeas corpus? Well you can read a better definition here:

or I can give a basic run down. Habeas corpus is a petition to the court, for an inmate to be taken to a court and determined whether or not they should be imprisoned. The inmate must demonstrate an error has taken case in order for the request to go forward. In Brown v. Vasquez (9th Cir. 1991), the court cited the Supreme Court had

"recognized the fact that`[t]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.'

So where does this Habeas corpus fall in the scheme of things, if its so important the Founding Fathers would have said something, right? They did. It can be found in Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution:

And reading it there you find there are two clauses attached. The writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended unless cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it. Here is where the debate really begins. The Constitution shows that in matters of grave concern over national security, the congress can allow the executive branch to detain people without trial. But Congress hasn't suspended habeas, and the Administration read between the lines to gain the ability to deny the right to Padilla.

And now we come to the crossroads. While you may feel secure in that you will never find yourself in this kind of mess, do you really want to throw out the one thing that could end up saving you? In my mind what makes this whole story so scary is not that I think it will happen to me, and it is not that it will widespread and over abused, it is the one time someone would use this the wrong way. And that is not a veiled jab at the President, it is for anyone who would misuse this power down the road if it was made permanent.

Just some food for thought, please don't willingly offer to give up your rights as an American, that above all else is what makes us who we are.

I do love a well balanced debate, so feel free to let me know where you fall on this subject ^^

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