Patriot Act is about to ride out into the sunset after Senate smack down

Libertarians across the nation are planning parties this evening and tomorrow to celebrate, as the major sections of the so-called Patriot Act are set to expire at midnight tonight. Libertarians were the rare group who opposed the Patriot Act when it was first enacted in late October 2001 as they felt it was anything but patriotic and it was a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution. They have since been proven right. Regardless, under orders of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate is set to convene later this afternoon, May 31, 2015, to vote on some reforms to the Patriot Act with a reform called the USA Freedom Act which was passed by the U.S. House on May 22, 2015. Even if the USA Freedom Act was passed later today, it would not end the mass surveillance of typical Americans by the federal government. Executive Order 13470, which President Obama has quietly not rescinded from the George W. Bush era, would still be in effect as well as other sections of the Patriot Act which have been made permanent.

From the liberal New York Times to the Washington Post, major news organizations are supportive of letting the Patriot Act expire this evening. In an opinion piece this weekend, the New York Times stated, “There is no question that the federal government should have broad authority to investigate terrorism threats and suspected spies operating in the United States. This is particularly critical in light of the Islamic State’s quest to inspire people in the United States to carry out attacks. But the government has not offered persuasive evidence that bulk collection of phone records has been crucial to foiling plots. Besides, federal officials retain authority to conduct surveillance by other means.” The Washington Post’s Editorial Board is supportive of seeing the expiring sections of the Patriot Act expire and replaced with the USA Freedom Act.

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