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Unconstitutional FISA Search and Seizure Cannot Pass without Democratic Party Approval

It’s a central test of political character: when you have the chance to make a difference, do you?

Tomorrow, the Senate will convene to vote on reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act. This law directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by allowing agents of the United States government to search through and seize a person’s papers and communications without a constitutionally-required warrant affirming probable cause to believe that person is involved in the planning or commission of criminal activity.

Nearly all Republicans are sure to vote for the bill — the objections they’ve raised regarding FISA this month have been objections to the occurrence of any debate whatsoever before a vote. The question is not what the anti-liberty Republicans will do. They question is what Democrats will do.

The Senate Democrats, constituting a majority of the Senate, have announced that in order for reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act to pass, it must obtain 60 votes. This means that the reauthorization bill cannot pass without the cooperation of Democrats.

The Democratic Party has a clear chance tomorrow to make a difference, preserving constitutional rights by voting against reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act. If the Democrats caucus together against FISA reauthorization, there is no way it can pass. If FISA reauthorization does pass, then it means that Senate Democrats allowed it to happen.

If you have a moment today, contact your Senators by calling the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Register your opposition. Let your Senators know that you’ll be paying attention. Let them know you’ll hold them accountable for what they do or fail to do.

2 thoughts on “Unconstitutional FISA Search and Seizure Cannot Pass without Democratic Party Approval”

  1. Jim Cook says:

    It felt good to call my Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susa ton Collins, and register my opinion with them. Senator Snowe had closed her offices on the day after Christmas, and so I had to leave a message with her Augusta office voice mail. A staffer was present in the DC office of Senator Collins, and I was able to speak with him directly.

    I understand to some extent why groups like the EFF and ACLU have retreated to a position of simply wanting debate on FISA reauthorization. They want a longterm place in beltway DC discussions and need to let possibly sympathetic but spineless Senators room to return to the constitution’s side later. But I am not now and will never be an insider with a place in DC policy discussions behind closed doors. I’m just a citizen with limited access but unlimited autonomy to say what I’d like. So no, ACLU and EFF, I’m not going to ask my representatives to simply let FISA opponents speak. I’m advocating for what I really want: a NO vote.

    Such “hopeless” gestures don’t always work, but with enough participation they do work on occasion, surprising the insideriest of insiders. I don’t expect but do hope this will be one of those times, and will do my bit to make it so. I hope you do too.

  2. Jerry Thomas says:

    A chance for the Senate to document that they understand the Constitution!

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