Many provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of this year. Personally, I think this act is probably the most misunderstood piece of legislation passed in the last 4 years. I’ve never read nor read a convincing argument against this act, but it seems to be taken as gospel fact on the left side of the aisle that the PATRIOT Act is a serious abridgment of our civil liberties. Though it’s interesting to note even the ACLU approves of 90% of the Act. Of course this says nothing about the character of the offending 10%, but it’s at least an indicator that the vast majority of the PATRIOT Act is something that probably should be kept. I’ve posted before why the Act isn’t as bad as many make it out to be, and there are more reasons to believe this. And in light of other countries’s anti-terrorism measures, the PATRIOT Act seems benign.
Now, the Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy points to PatriotDebates, which is a “slow blog” that has a collection of essays, pro and con, about key provisions of the PATRIOT Act. This was started by Stewart Baker who is the Chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security. The welcome essay is written by the ABA president and the introductory essay is written by James B. Comey, Deputy Attorney General. This place packs an intellectual punch, and probably would be a great resource for sober debate of this contentious and important act. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to read it in the near future.