Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A defeat for the USA PATRIOT Act, or not? I'm still confused.

The good folks over at the Volokh Conspiracy were beating up the ACLU a while back (e.g., here) about the ACLU's claim to have overturned part of the USA PATRIOT Act (whose name is an acronym, hence the all-caps). In Slate, Robert Poe, an intriguingly named Bay Area writer, describes the controversy, such as it is. I still can't follow the details of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act well enough to figure out whether the Volokh folk caught the ACLU embroidering their success -- and since the fight is over which law was invalidated, not whether or not it's valid, who cares? What is truly ridiculous, though, is that the law's secrecy provisions prevented the ACLU from announcing that it was challenging the law for three weeks. A federal district court judge in New York upheld the principle of judicial review, though the case now is on appeal.

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