Federal judge rejects part of Patriot Act

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Wed Sep 29 13:33:49 EDT 2004


Federal judge rejects part of Patriot Act
Provision giving FBI access to business records overturned
Updated: 12:11 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2004

NEW YORK - A federal judge Wednesday found unconstitutional a part of the
United States' anti-terror Patriot Act that allows authorities to demand
customer records from businesses without court approval.

 U.S. District Judge Victor Marreo ruled in favor of the American Civil
Liberties Union, which challenged the power the FBI has to demand
confidential financial records from companies as part of terrorism

 The ruling was the latest blow to the Bush administration's anti-terrorism

 In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that terror suspects being held in
places like Guantanamo Bay can use the American judicial system to
challenge their confinement. That ruling was a defeat for the president's
assertion of sweeping powers to hold "enemy combatants" indefinitely after
the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

 The ACLU sued the Department of Justice, arguing that part of the Patriot
legislation violated the Constitution because it authorizes the FBI to
force disclosure of sensitive information without adequate safeguards.

 The judge agreed, stating that the provision "effectively bars or
substantially deters any judicial challenge."

 Under the provision, the FBI did not have to show a judge a compelling
need for the records and it did not have to specify any process that would
allow a recipient to fight the demand for confidential information.

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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