Duquesne Law Review


Paul Rosenzweig


This article addresses many of the conceptions and misconceptions attending the public debate on the threat to civil liberty from the expansion of executive power. Section I outlines some basic principles that should guide the analysis of the Patriot Act, and related expansion of government power. The author summarizes some of the relevant history and attempts to identify relevant similarities and differences between past experiences and the contemporary, post-September 11th situation. The author then offers some basic principles for use in assessing the potential threat to civil liberties posed by various legal and technological changes. Section II conducts a detailed analysis of some of these changes, acknowledging at several points that ambiguity and the potential for abuse exists, at others that real problems may arise, and arguing, at others, that criticisms of the Patriot Act have swayed away from reality and into a sort of mythology.

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