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Thursday, July 31, 2003 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Ashcroft Seeks Death Penalty in Puerto Rico Murder...

ACLU Files First Major Lawsuit Against Patriot Act

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The suit seeks to have a major section of the U.S.A. Patriot Act declared unconstitutional arguing that the law gives federal agents virtually unchecked authority to spy on Americans. We speak with ACLU attorney Noel Saleh.

The first constitutional challenge to the Patriot Act was brought to federal court yesterday. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and six Muslim groups.

The suit seeks to have a major section of the U.S.A. Patriot Act declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the privacy, due process and free speech rights of Americans.

The suit names Attorney General John Ashcroft and F.B.I. director Robert Mueller, as defendants.

The Justice department issued a statement saying that the expanded law enforcement powers granted in the section under attack had proved to be essential tools in fighting "terrorists."

In another major set back for the Justice Department, the U.S. House last week voted 309 to 118 to overturn key provisions of the Act.

  • Noel Saleh, attorney with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He also has been serving as the attorney for Rabih Haddad who was recently deported to Lebanon.

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