Thursday, June 16, 2005

Chalk one up to reason!

House votes to repeal part of USA Patriot Act

Vote may signal that Bush campaign to renew and
extend Act isn't winning over Congress.

By Tom Regan

In a move that may signal a tougher battle ahead, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Wednesday to remove the Patriot Act provision that "allows federal agents to examine people's book-reading habits at public libraries andbookstores as part of terrorism investigations."

The vote was 238-187 - 38 Republicans joined 199 Democrats and amendment sponsor Bernie Sanders, (I) of Vermont, in supporting the repeal. The Washington Post reports that the vote was the result of conservative Republicans, worried about government intrusion, who joined with Democratsworried about personal privacy.

Of course the president is threatening a veto -- he wants all of the Patriot Act to be renewed in its entirety. How a free people can sanction undisclosed investigations into people's reading material (terror suspects or not) seems pretty antithetical to a system of government that professes to have a legal system based on the prosecution of criminal activity -- not ideas.


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