ACLU Withdraws Lawsuit Challenging Patriot Act

Associated Press
Sunday, October 29, 2006

The American Civil Liberties Union has dropped a three-year-old lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the USA Patriot Act, months after Congress rewrote parts of the law.

The ACLU said Friday it is withdrawing the lawsuit because of "improvements to the law."

"While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies," Ann Beeson, the New York-based associate legal director of the ACLU, said in a written statement.

The Justice Department said it is pleased with the ACLU's action.

"The Patriot Act is a legitimate and important tool that has better helped law enforcement fight terrorism while simultaneously protecting our valued civil liberties," Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said in Washington.

The Justice Department argued last month that amendments approved by Congress in March had corrected any constitutional flaws in the Patriot Act.

The lawsuit, filed in July 2003 on behalf of the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, Mich., and five other nonprofit groups, was the first legal challenge to Section 215. That part of the Patriot Act lets federal agents obtain such things as library records and medical information.

The ACLU said the revisions allow people receiving demands for records to consult with a lawyer and challenge the demands in court.

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