U.S. Rep. Amash drafting legislation limiting Patriot Act powers
Congressman Justin Amash
Patrick Center June 13, 2013 | WGVU Congressman Justin Amash voted against the Patriot Act that allowed for expanded intelligence gathering following the 9/11 terror attacks.
“It was named the Patriot Act to get people to vote for it.”
Amash was a no vote fearing a government overreach. Now more than a decade since its enactment the Congressman views the National Security Agency’s culling of phone and email records as an abuse of civil liberties.
“That goes way beyond what the Constitution allows and it goes beyond what the text of the Patriot Act seems to allow.”
The ACLU also sees the surveillance program as unconstitutional and is filing a federal lawsuit against the Obama Adminitration.
“I’m looking to get involved in some of these lawsuits by submitting an amicus brief or actually being a plaintiff in the lawsuit. So, we’re looking at our options. We think it’s important to get some clarity on what is constitutional and what’s not constitutional because a lot of members of Congress will base it on what they think the Supreme Court is allowing and we don’t have any recent cases on point.”
Congressman Amash is working with Representative John Conyers of Detroit on a piece of bipartisan legislation limiting Patriot Act powers. The two are also requesting secret court opinion be made available to congress and the public.
“The American people shouldn’t have to live under secret laws. We should know how these courts are ruling. This won’t harm our intelligence operations. There are reasons for secret intelligence operations but there’s no good reason for secret laws.”
While the text of the bill isn’t yet complete, Amash says it’s gaining attention and cosponsors.
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