Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held a meeting to markup H.R. 1800, a bill that proposes to extend the Patriot Act’s unconstitutional spying powers for six and a half more years.
Tens of thousands of abuses of the surveillance law have been discovered so far, just through a limited outside review of FBI records. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that is supposed to ensure protection of Americans from Patriot Act powers is empty of board members, and completely inactive. Yet, we know from previous examinations of the use of the Patriot Act that the law’s powers of unreasonable search and seizure were applied to cases having nothing at all to do with terrorism 99.6 percent of the time.
Yesterday’s markup was an opportunity for reform of the abusive law, with amendments that could have brought the Patriot Act closer to compliance with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee of protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet, every single reform that was offer was rejected by the House Judiciary Committee.
The Patriot Act was then approved, without reforms, by the committee, with a vote of 22 to 13. Republican Jason Chaffetz crossed the aisle to vote against the unreformed Patriot Act. He was countered, however, by two Democrats, Mike Quigley and Pedro Pierluisi, who joined with Republicans to approve the unconstitutional surveillance legislation.
The roll call of the Judiciary Committee’s vote on the unimproved Patriot Act was as follows:
In Favor: Lamar Smith, James Sensenbrenner, Howard Coble, Elton Gallegly, Bob Goodlatte, Dan Lungren, Steve Chabot, Darrell Issa, Mike Pence, Randy Forbes, Steve King, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Ted Poe, Tim Griffin, Tom Marino, Trey Gowdy, Dennis Ross, Sandy Adams, Ben Quayle, Mike Quigley, Pedro Pierluisi
In Opposition: Jason Chaffetz, John Conyers, Howard Berman, Jerrold Nadler, Robert Scott, Mel Watt, Zoe Lofgren, Shiela Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Steve Cohen, Hank Johnson, Judy Chu, Ted Deutch, Linda Sanchez