February 17, 2018

Patriot Act Criticism Launched by Conservative Groups, ACLU

By LJ Staff

In the past two years, conservatives have indicated their dismay over the USA PATRIOT Act, joining library organizations and others, and on March 22 they formalized their opposition. A new group, Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances, aims ‘to ensure Congressional review and modification of provisions of the Patriot Act that are out of line with the Constitution and violate Fourth Amendment freedoms, including the right to privacy.’

Given that aspects of the act will expire in December 2005 if they are not renewed by Congress, the group asks Congress ‘to review and consider amending these provisions to protect Americans’ most fundamental freedoms.’ Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), chairman of the group, said parts of the Patriot Act are necessary, but ‘some of its powers just go too far.’ Among the elements of the act targeted is Section 215, which allows federal agents to search business records, including library records and records of firearm purchases. The groups in the coalition include the Americans for Tax Reform, American Conservative Union, and the Citizens’ Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The American Civil Liberties Union has also joined the group. The American Library Association (ALA) has not decided whether to join the group. Noted Lynne Bradley, director of the ALA Office of Government Relations, ‘We worked with those groups last year on the SAFE Act,’ which would have amended the Patriot Act.