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On The Front Lines

The Rutherford Institute Releases Analysis of "USA Patriot Act" and Justice Department Anti-Terrorism Initiatives

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Rutherford Institute has released an extensive analysis of the constitutionality of recent measures taken by the U.S. Justice Department in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, including provisions of the "USA PATRIOT Act of 2001." The analysis raises concerns about the constitutionality of numerous actions taken by the Bush Administration, including President Bush's order allowing trials by military tribunal of suspected terrorists and the Justice Department's monitoring of attorney-client communications. The analysis also addresses a number of questionable provisions of the Patriot Act, including those expanding the availability of search warrants, subpoenas and wiretaps in an effort to investigate terrorism, permitting the execution of search warrants without advance notice, and allowing for deportation or exclusion of aliens without due process.

The analysis, entitled "Forfeiting 'Enduring Freedom' for 'Homeland Security': A Constitutional Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and the Justice Department's Anti-Terrorism Initiatives,'' was authored by Rutherford Institute president John W. Whitehead and Institute staff counsel. Whitehead is a member of the Constitution Project's Initiative on Liberty and Security, a bipartisan group set up to advise policymakers and the public on civil liberties issues.

"The September 11th attacks have challenged America in ways that are unprecedented in recent history," said Whitehead. "While a strong military and law enforcement response is necessary to answer that challenge, to set aside the lessons of 225 years of American freedom, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as a commitment to the truth that 'All men are created equal [and] endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights...' as politically inexpedient in time of war would be to allow the extremists to win by surrendering who we are as a nation. If the American people accept a form of police statism in the name of a promise of personal security, that would be the greatest defeat imaginable."

An excerpt of the analysis is available on The Rutherford Institute's web site; a full copy of the report is available online or upon request to the Institute's international headquarters.

The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights.


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