Senate rejects extension of Patriot Act
12/16/2005, 1:50 p.m. ET
By JESSE J. HOLLAND
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Friday refused to reauthorize major portions of the USA Patriot Act after critics complained they infringed too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.
In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.
Now while most of the democrats' votes outside of Russ Feingold (The ONLY Senator to oppose this the first time) were for strictly partisan reasons, kudos to most of them for doing the right thing this time, five years too late. Same goes for Larry Craig who as a board member of the NRA, should know better about giving up freedoms for perceived security. This mess created by President Bush, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Ashcroft, and 98 other senators. Was all of the Patriot Act? No, but the provisions for sneak and peak, judge shopping, and requiring to prove your innocence ("Affirmative Defense") for asset forfeitures is unacceptable.
The Patriot Act's ugly head will likely make a return, probably under a new name. The Patriot Act itself was not the first incarnation of that horrible act. Bill Clinton, Janet Reno, Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Mike DeWine, Kit Bond, Harry Reid, Herb Kohl, and former Congressman Bill McCollum pushed for this back in 2000 (S. 486) under a bipartisan effort to take away our constitutional rights with secret searches. Then, it was in the name of the "War on Drugs" and in Clinton's case, a War on guns and the 2nd Amendment. That's just in Clinton's character as while he was most known for Lewinsky, people forget about his brutal railroading of Billy Dale (found innocent) with trumped up fraud charges in the travel office.
There's plenty of blame to go around here. The individuals who pushed for this in 2000 deserve blame. The 99 senators who voted for it. All but about 30 house representatives who voted for it. John Ashcroft deserves special blame for this, and the buck stops with President Bush who signed it. The worst culprit is John Ashcroft. He spoke against this when Clinton was president, but when he was AG, he pushed for it.
This is not new, and I expect future presidents to push for a comeback of these Patriot Act type provisions for their pet cause. This will be around long after Bush leaves office.
For all those people who say we need to give up our constitutional rights in the name of the "War on Terror", "War on Drugs", "Public Health", "Public Safety", or any other excuse, I give this quote by Ben Franklin.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty, nor safety"
Good riddance to the Patriot Act.