Itâ€™s good that a federal judge last week lifted a government-imposed gag order on librarians wanting to testify to Congress about FBI requests for information about library patrons and their reading habits. As the judge argued, the librarians have a First Amendment right to be part of a “current and lively debate in this country over the renewal of the Patriot Act.”
The librarians are on the front line of the most controversial provision of the act â€” let them give their perspective.
On another important civil rights issue, a federal court upheld the Bush administrationâ€™s power to hold an American citizen indefinitely without trial. Jose Padilla (see photo), the alleged “dirty bomb” plotter, has been jailed for three years without charges.
Yes, he is accused of having al-Qaida ties and thus of being an “enemy combatant,” but as an American, shouldnâ€™t he either be charged or released? The potential for government abuse is troubling.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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