Anti-Fourth Amendment Patriot Act, Article Review Example



The primary role of the article is to highlight the gap between constitutional requirement for the protection of civilian rights and the insensitivity of the Patriotic Act, as well as the insufficiency of the proposed anti-terrorism legal framework. It is clear that the supreme legal framework spelt out by the US constitution appears to be compromised by the current legislation and the approach taken by the federal government in balancing its duty to safeguard the rights of the citizens. On one hand, the Fourth Amendment requires civilian rights to be protected by the government whereas anti-terrorism laws on the other hand prove to be a contentious and constitution compromising. While the government has the responsibility to enhance national and homeland aspects of security for the citizenry at all costs, it is also required that civilian rights are not compromised as they are equally important before the constitution. The objective of the article is achieved in the highlight of the suffering of innocent patriots caught up in the confusion generated by the indifferent legal provisions, against the backdrop of the Fourth amendment.


The findings of the article in the illustration of the disconnection between the two government roles identified above in protection of the public interest are in tandem with the observation that the law needs better representation. To present the apparent missing links, the article gives an account of members of the public dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Patriotic Act. On the insufficiency of the proposed amendment, the article also highlights its incapacity to tackle three important elements that are contradictory to civil rights, yet the unconstitutionality thereon is not sufficiently highlighted. By the use of the case of Brandon Mayfield in the presentation of the article, it is possible to single out the inconsistency of the current applicable legislation within the constitutional requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Overall Purpose

In terms of the overall purpose of the articles, perhaps it is to make the petition of repeal of the entire Patriot Act based on the observations of its inconsistency with the constitution. This is based on the general premise that any law, in this case the Patriot Act, shall remain void before the constitution to the extent of its inconsistency. To this end, the writer is able to establish grounds of making the opinion in form of a petition to have the Patriot Act be declared void to the extent of its inconsistency with the Fourth Amendment of the constitution of the United States. In the generation of this observation and conclusion, the article captures emotional backing on the victimization aspect that the American patriots experience under the Act’s legal regime. Further in this article, it is highlighted that the Patriot Act could be making a serious mistake of discrimination and profiling on basis of religion as singled out in the case of al-Kidd. These cases are applied in the article to strengthen the main observation that the Patriot Act is not only inconsistent with the constitution but also contributes to suffering of innocent individuals.

Main Criminal Justice Topic

The article focuses on the area of individual rights, particularly on t the role of the law in protecting individuals’ rights without discrimination. In addition, criminal justice legal framework established and proposed for use in criminal procedure must be based on the general premise of withholding innocence until guilt is proven. According to this article, the inconsistency with the constitution is highlighted as it is for the mistreatment of suspected criminals, particularly with regard to terrorism. Anti-terrorism legal frameworks must be formulated with requirements of the constitution regarding lack inconsistencies and innocence treatment to suspects.


Some of the most important observations put across by the article include the automatic protection of individuals’ rights by the constitution and the difficulty in following this provision in legislation, as illustrated in the Patriot Act. Whereas the intentions of the congress in passing the laws underscore the need to ensure protection of civilians, the main observation is that certain important provisions of the constitution are compromised. To this end, the inconsistence with the constitution, particularly the Fourth Amendment is singled out as a possible reason to render such legislation void and substantiates falls for their repeal. Tampering with private life of an individual while implementing legislations may be interpreted as blatant contempt of the constitution, but the sensitivity of the intention presents a chance to consider alternative legal frameworks that reduce such infringement. The fact that the government is on record admitting making mistakes in wrongful implementation of the Patriot Act is evidence that there are instances that the legislation interferes with civil rights (Eddlem 2011).

According to the author, the Fourth Amendment provides firstly for the protection of civilians against unreasonable government searches and seizures which is easily violated under the Patriot act. In terms of the observations of the cases highlighted in the article, Mayfield and al-Kidd became victims of the law for implementing searches and apprehension for unclear grounds that defy this provision of the constitution. Secondly, the warrants issues in such cases of government intrusion must be based on grounds of probable cause. The Fourth Amendment provides for oath or affirmation if the probable cause threshold is met in a warrant. However, the alleged warrants under the Patriot Act as represented in the cases appear to be off the threshold of a probable cause since the suspects ended up being innocent victims of the humiliation sustained in the intrusion. Thirdly, the Fourth Amendment requires that the warrant specifies the nature of person and place to be searched in the protection of personal rights. However, the conduct of the government in implementation of the Patriot Act has been illustrated to defy the specification aspects of the Fourth Amendment.

Apparently, the origin of the departure of government policy based on the need to implement the Fourth amendment can be traced back from the Supreme Court precedence in the ruling of Terry’s case. In terms of the lenience with which the government has approached the civil rights protection, there is a dramatic change observed from the September 11 terrorist attack on American soil. The magnitude of the topic of terrorism on American sovereignty and integrity is too huge for implementation of the civil rights provisions outlined in the Fourth amendment. Withdrawal of constitutional procedure in dealing with searches and seizures as mentioned above seems to push civil rights topic further to the periphery of legal interpretations, hence pushing human rights to remote consideration. As an illustration, the FBI mandate to carry out National Security Letters appears to circumvent the provisions of the Fourth Amendment at the mercy of private rights (Eddlem, para.12). It appears that the national attention to handle terrorism within and without the US borders has gained momentum that coincidentally renders the Fourth amendment a ceremonial provision in the constitution. Despite the timed life frame of the Patriot Act, the Congress seemingly continues to extend the abusive provisions of the Patriot Act instead of formulating better legislation to cater for the issues in question.


With regard to issues that remain unresolved as the article demonstrates, there is lack of a clear-cut measure for criminal justice to sufficiently satisfy the Fourth Amendment provisions and satisfy national security issues. On one hand, civil rights are constitutionally protected but the national security mechanisms at hand, while largely successful in warding off terrorism, appear out of touch with private rights. Further discussion as highlighted by the article would be related to issues of terrorism and national security. In terms of the loopholes that the effective laws on terrorism have with regard to private rights, they pose challenges in the interpretation of security provision and individual rights protection. Criminal justice system appears to collide in interaction with mistreatment of individuals against private rights and the issues of provision of national security.


Confidence that can be attached to the article opinion can be described to be half the mark due to the strong reliance on one-sided argument of civil rights and avoiding the potent security risks of terrorism and threats posed by rightwing extremism and organized crimes. Despite the thorough consideration of infringement of civil rights under the Patriot Act and related legal regimes, there are major reporting disparities that can be isolated with regard to the threats tackled by the antiterrorism laws. The author must have balanced the opinion in terms of the private rights and protection of national security, which may call for waiver of certain liberties at certain instances. Despite the fact that the country and the world have a serious international problem with terrorism that is rapidly changing with technological advancements, the author fails to mention that continued research in criminal justice is required to handle the changes. Alternatively, the author fails to mention the realignment needed for the current law to make it responsive to requirements of the constitution.

In terms of the reaction on how this article would have been designed in order to handle every concern of the Patriot Act, perhaps a mention of the underlying complications of the implementation constitution provisions on civilian rights protection would have been vital. In light of the significance of terrorism debate to the US and the international community, it is important to mention that the criminal justice systems will continue to experience a challenge due to the emerging threats posed by criminal activities of terror organizations. It is important to also recognize the challenges that the security enforcement agencies experience in trying to ensure that the country is safe without implications on other laws. Whereas the article highlights the afflictions of the civilians at the hands of the effective security enforcement procedures, it would be difficult to draw the line between infringement and provision of security under the sensitive environment.

It is therefore important to highlight the difficult circumstances that the constitutional provisions under the Fourth amendment experience with the same breath of sensitization of civil rights. As an illustration of the difficulties experienced by the criminal justice system in the interpretation of appropriateness of legislations, technology platform for cyber crime activities would best suit the image. Under cyber crimes, it would be difficult for law enforcement agencies to prevent such high tech crimes without crossing lines with personal privacy on the internet (Saskia 132). To understand the missing links between available law and the changing nature of crimes, particularly those involving threats to life, it is a sensitive topic since certain rights appear to be overridden by others. The question of whether certain rights such as provision for security by the government are more powerful than other rights such as individual private rights arises. However, the dedication of the law using legislation and judicial precedents will provide the necessary interpretation in the short run, before such issues are sufficiently handled.

In conclusion, the article highlights an important challenge experienced by the criminal justice system in the US and the international community. Whereas it is important for the national government to ensure that the loss of life as posed by the threat of terror attacks remains rife in the public life, the role of the government in protection of civil rights and privacy must not be lost. Within the context of suffering sustained by innocent civilians at the hands of national security enforcement procedures, it is clear that there are missing links in legal frameworks. On one hand, the supreme law of the land provides for the protection of civil rights while legislation on fight against terror and provision of national security compromises such provisions on the other hand. Perhaps one of the most important gifts that criminal justice systems ought to provide to civilians is through clarification of legal frameworks that pull on different ends of provision of human rights environment. That would be acquired through appropriate amendments to the constitution and legislations responsive to the developments on the ground.


Works Cited

Eddlem, Thomas R. “Anti-Fourth Amendment Patriot Act: Congress is Considering Extending Three Provisions of the USA Patriot Act, But they would Do Better to Repeal the Whole Unconstitutional Law,”, 2011, Web.;col1

Saskia, Hufnagel. “Recent Developments: Harmonization of Criminal Law and Organized Crime.” Journal of Commonwealth Criminal Law 1(2011):132-150