Breaking News: Fourth Amendment Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Constitution

July 10, 2008 marks an important day in U.S. history. Today, President Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 bill into law. The landmark decision, approved by the Senate with a vote of 69 to 28, permits the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct “warrantless surveillance” of all United States citizens, even without probable cause. It also grants immunity to telecommunications companies from past and future lawsuits for cooperation with the NSA in spying domestic targets.

The new law is controversial, with most of its support coming from the Bush administration and Republicans. Mr. Bush said the vote “will protect the liberties of our citizens while maintaining the vital flow of intelligence.” On the other hand, opposition groups question the constitutionality of the new law, calling it a violation to the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Ironically, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama voted yes on the bill, a decision which many Democrats held firm in opposition. Senator Hilary Clinton voted against the bill, while John McCain did not vote.

To find out your state senators’ position on the bill, check out the vote summary page on the United States Senate website. 

What do YOU think? Are you willing to sacrifice your civil liberties, for the sake of national security, even without warrants or judicial approval? Whatever happened to checks and balances?

[Via The New York Times]


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Name: Vincent Trần

Location: California

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