The United States Patriot Act

Most Congressmen admit to not have read the Act before voting to pass it but those voting in favor were overwhelming. Only one of 99 Senators (Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold) and 66 of 423 Representatives voted against the law. The PATRIOT Act, as many citizens and legal experts alike, have argued, violates the fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights (Savage, 2006). This includes the freedom of speech and assembly (First Amendment). the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment). the right to due process of law (Fifth Amendment). the right to a speedy, public and fair trial along with the right to counsel and to confront the accuser, (Sixth Amendment), the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment (Eighth Amendment) and freedom from punishment without conviction (13th Amendment).One of the most obvious tactics in the ‘War on Terror’ and the PATRIOT Act is the widespread use of racial profiling, described as when law enforcement officials use race, ethnicity, religion and even color of skin to determine which persons are more probable to commit a crime such as terrorism. The term ‘War on Terror’ has been continually invoked to justify breaches of the Constitution as well as the basic civil liberties of citizens and foreigners alike. The invocation of this phrase has repeatedly prohibited rational discussions regarding civil injustices such as profiling individuals based on their race. Therefore racial profiling has continued unabated including the profiling of young black men since September 11, 2001. The not-so-subtle insinuation is that one cannot condemn racial profiling because to do so will hinder the war on terrorism and undermine national security (McDonald, 2001).The popularly stated position is that racial profiling is necessary because not using this tool of law enforcement would compromise the effort against terrorism.

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