Free Expression

20 Aug

Sanders' VT Congressional Town Meeting on Civil Liberties Positive and Hopeful

Left to right: Panelists Zachary Marcus, Trina Magi, Rep. Bernie Sanders, Edward Morrow, and Ben Scotch.

On Sunday, August 17, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sponsored a Congressional Town Meeting on the "USA Patriot Act and Our Civil Liberties," co-hosted by the Northshire Bookstore of Manchester Center, Vermont.

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14 Aug

Rights and the New Reality

The following editorial appeared in the August 8 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Barring the Book Snoops

In December, a St. Louis library user whispered that a Middle Eastern-looking man using the public computers seemed suspicious. The librarian called the FBI, but the man left before agents arrived. In an effort to identify him, the agents asked for and got a thick stack of papers listing everyone who had used the library's computers in the previous week.

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06 Aug

Murkowski Introduces Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act

The support for amending the USA Patriot Act continues to grow. On July 31, the same day that Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) introduced The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act (S. 1507), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act (S.1552). Both bills would limit searches under the USA Patriot Act to the records of people who are foreign agents engaged in acts of espionage or terrorism.

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06 Aug

Co-sponsors for Freedom to Read Protection Act Now 129

The Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) continues to garner support within the House. All told, the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), now has 129 co-sponsors.

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05 Aug

First Amendment Support Returning to Pre-9/11 Levels, According to Study

What a difference a year makes. Last year, in the annual "State of the First Amendment" survey, which is conducted by the First Amendment Center in collaboration with American Journalism Review, 41 percent of Americans surveyed strongly agreed that the First Amendment went too far in the rights it guarantees. This year, that number fell to 19 percent.

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31 Jul

ABFFE Endorses Senate Bills Amending USA Patriot Act

At press time, it was announced that Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) had introduced The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act (S.1507) today, and, on Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) would be introducing the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act. Both bills would limit searches under the Patriot Act to the records of people who are "foreign agents" engaged in acts of espionage or terrorism.

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31 Jul

ACLU Files Challenge to Section 215 of USA Patriot Act

On Wednesday, July 30, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed on behalf of six advocacy and community groups a legal challenge to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act in federal court in Detroit. Members and clients of the six groups contend that they are currently the targets of investigation because of their ethnicity, religion, and political association, according to an ACLU press release. The lawsuit names Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller as the defendants.

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24 Jul

Senator Feingold Expected to Introduce Act to Protect Bookstore Privacy

As Bookselling This Week went to press, it was expected that Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) would introduce the Library, Bookstore, and Personal Records Privacy Act into the Senate early next week. Feingold's bill would narrow the universe of people whose bookstore or library records could be searched under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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24 Jul

Banned Books Week, September 20 to 27 -- Let Freedom Read

Banned Books Week, the national celebration of First Amendment rights, will be held this year from September 20 - 27. With the theme "Open Your Mind to a Banned Book," the event marks its 22nd year.

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24 Jul

Sanders' Patriot Act Amendment Charged With Technical Foul

On Tuesday, July 21, civil liberty advocates received a mix of some good news and some bad news from the House of Representatives.

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21 Jul

ABFFE Calls on Booksellers: Contact Your House Rep Now!

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging members of the book and library communities to contact their congressional representatives this week in support of an amendment that cuts off Justice Department funding for searches of bookstore and library records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will offer the measure as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary Appropriations Bill of 2004. The bill, which has no number yet, is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and C.L.

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16 Jul

ABFFE Gets on a Soap Box

On Wednesday, July 16, six national free expression groups, led by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), demanded that the All-American Soap Box Derby cease efforts to censor a new history of the Derby, Champions, Cheaters, and Childhood Dreams: Memories of the All-American Soap Box Derby, by Melanie Payne (University of Akron Press).

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08 Jul

Patriot Acts, Then & Now: Protect Our Freedom to Read

Patricia S. Schroeder, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers and a former Democratic representative from Colorado's 1st Congressional District, calls for the passage of the Freedom to Read Protection Act in this Op-Ed piece, which was published in the July 6 edition of the Denver Post.

By Patricia S. Schroeder

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02 Jul

U.S. Supreme Court Wants Nike Lawsuit to Run Its Course in California

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear Nike v. Kasky -- a case that could have produced an important ruling on whether or not the First Amendment protects corporate commercial speech. Now, the Supreme Court says it won't hear the case after all. On June 26, the high court issued a one-sentence order declaring it had changed its mind -- that Nike's appeal had been "improvidently granted." The case will head back to California's state court, though experts believe there's a good chance that it will end up at the door of the U.S.

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