They're panicking in Washington because the section of the Patriot Act that is used to justify bulk collection of phone data expires June 1. True, a federal appeals court has ruled that warrentless bulk data collection exceeds the authority granted by Section 215, but that simply does not matter to some people. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to reauthorize that section and thereby (in his view) preserve NSA spying.
Fortunately, enough senators—led by Sens. Rand Paul and Ron Wyden—have stopped him. This leaves us in our present favorable condition, writes Sheldon Richman: if nothing happens, the NSA program will die at midnight on Monday. Paul, Wyden, and their allies need only play stall-ball to prevail. Let's hope they run out the clock.