The Patriot Act passed Congress weeks after 9/11 when lawmakers felt pressured to do something, anything, in response to the attacks. Many of its provisions pointlessly threaten New Yorkers’ privacy and civil liberties. Unfortunately, Congress reauthorized the Patriot Act in early 2006 without fixing the law’s most fundamental flaws.
The NYCLU has played a prominent role in the fight to reform the Patriot Act. In a lawsuit brought by the NYCLU and ACLU, a federal judge in 2007 declared the National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act unconstitutional. That provision allowed the FBI to compel communications companies to produce customer records secretly and without judicial supervision.
In a another lawsuit, the NYCLU and ACLU challenged the Patriot Act’s “ideological exclusion” provision that gives the government wide discretion to block foreign nationals from entering the United States if it determines they have voiced irresponsible opinions.
The NYCLU has opposed the Patriot Act through grassroots advocacy and legislative lobbying.
Several important provisions of the Patriot Act will sunset on Dec. 31, 2009. The ACLU and NYCLU are lobbying federal lawmakers to amend the Patriot Act to strengthen civil liberties protections. Click here for the latest news on this efforts.
Community Resolutions Upholding Fundamental Rights and Liberties
Since 9/11, 8 states and 414 municipalities have passed resolutions opposing numerous provisions of the Patriot Act, and other national security measures, that unnecessarily curtail fundamental rights and liberties. Communities in New York State have been among the most active in this nationwide effort.
Resolutions passed in New York State:
Albany County (06/14/04)
Mount Vernon (04/14/04)
New Paltz Town (02/27/03)
New Paltz Village (02/12/03)
New York (02/04/04)
North Hempstead (12/16/03)
Saint Lawrence County (09/08/03)
Schuyler County (12/08/03)
Tompkins County (09/07/04)
Westchester County (09/14/04)