New section on Patriot Act launched

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The USA Patriot Act has become the lightning rod for controversy in a post-Sept. 11 world in which the country struggles to find the proper balance between national security and individual liberty.

Supporters contend the Patriot Act is responsible for preventing further catastrophes. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in Congress in April 2004 that “the biggest hero to emerge from the hearings before the 9/11 Commission has been the Patriot Act.”

Detractors counter that the Patriot Act represents a loss of individual liberty and a naked grasp for power by the executive branch of government, particularly over the judicial branch.

In a new section of First Amendment Center Online, Research Attorney David L. Hudson Jr. examines the First Amendment implications of a law that, whether a protector or destroyer of freedom, continues to capture headlines.