THE PATRIOT ACT REAUTHORIZATION HAS FAILED:
The 52-47 roll call by which the Senate voted to reject reauthorization of several provisions of the USA Patriot Act. Sixty votes were needed to overcome a filibuster of the bill.
Voting “yes” were 2 Democrats and 50 Republicans.
Voting “no” were 41 Democrats, 5 Republicans and one independent.
Follow the link to see how people voted. I think this is a good decision. While my earlier fears about the Patriot Act haven’t really been borne out, my earlier instinct that this was a bureaucratic wish-list masquerading as antiterrorism seems to have been well-founded. Are these things necessary? I don’t know, but the proponents of the bill haven’t met their burden of proof.
UPDATE: Here’s more from Orin Kerr:
For those of us who think of the Patriot Act as actual legislation rather than a symbol of the Bush Administration, this is rather puzzling stuff. The dirty little secret about the Patriot Act is that only about 3% of the Act is controversial, and only about a third of that 3% is going to expire on December 31st. Further, much of the reauthorization actually puts new limits on a number of the controversial non-sunsetting provisions, and some of the sunsetting provisions increased privacy protections. As a result, it’s not immediately obvious to me whether we’ll have greater civil liberties on January 1, 2006 if the Patriot Act is reauthorized or if it is allowed to expire.
The Patriot Act’s supporters, and its detractors, could both do a better job of arguing their cases. But the burden of proof is on its supporters and, as I say, they haven’t met it. Of course, I didn’t think they had met it the first time around, when it passed with almost unanimous bipartisan support.