Executive Power

The Patriot Act Turns 10


The Cato Institute's Tim Lynch marks a depressing milestone:

It was ten years ago that President Bush signed the Patriot legislation into law.  If you wanted to find a textbook example of how not to make law, review the history of this law.  First, toss dozens of legal proposals together into a giant "package" and resist any effort to unpack it and hold separate votes.  Second, unveil the package at the last minute so members of Congress will not have an opportunity to study it.  Third, call it the "Patriot Act" so that any person voting against it will have to consider television ads declaring his/her opposition to the Patriot law.  Fourth, have the Attorney General declare over and over that if the law is not enacted right away, the terrorists may well launch more 9-11 attacks.  When members of Congress proposed attaching sunset provisions so that the law could go into effect, but would need reauthorization a few years later, the Bush administration fought the idea.

Read the rest here. Read Reason's extensive coverage of the Patriot Act right here.