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Patriot Act v2.0: Whither judicial process?

Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, post-Schiavo, but I see in the Law.com Newswire that FBI Director Robert Mueller is asking for expanded powers under Patriot Act v2.0 that would allow his bureau to circumvent existing judicial review process.

According to this story by Mark Sherman, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller appeared together in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday to advocate for the act (15 provisions are set to expire in December unless they are re-upped by Congress). In his remarks, Mueller reportedly also asked "lawmakers to expand the bureau's ability to obtain records without first asking a judge," specifically, "to expand the FBI's administrative subpoena powers, which allow the bureau to obtain records without approval of a judge or grand jury."

Are there reasonable grounds for this expansion? The act itself appears to be in trouble: Don't miss CrimLaw professor Mark Godsey's post earlier this week that Montana is now one of the five states and 375 communities in 43 states to pass anti-Patriot Act resolutions. According to Jennifer McKee of the Billings Gazette, state Democrats and Republicans united to go one step further with a strongly worded resolution that actively targets Montana law enforcement and libraries:

"The resolution, which does not carry the weight of a law but expresses the Legislature's opinion, encourages Montana law enforcement agencies not to participate in investigations authorized under the Patriot Act that violate Montanans' constitutional rights. It requests all libraries in the state to post a sign warning citizens that under the Patriot Act, federal agents may force librarians to turn over a record of books a person has checked out and never inform that citizen of the request."

Update: Look what Michel J. Ayers found.

Posted by Product Team on April 6, 2005 at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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