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House votes to block book-snooping power under Patriot Act despite Bush veto threat

[JURIST] Despite the looming threat of a Presidential veto [Reuters report], the US House of Representatives voted 238-187 [roll call] late Wednesday to approve the so-called Sanders Freedom to Read Amendment limiting a section of the USA Patriot Act [text] giving the FBI and Justice Department power to search public library records and book store sales without a search warrant. Supporters of the Patriot Act provision [ACLU FAQ] contended that ready access to the reading habits of terror suspects would be valuable to investigators. Opponents expressed concern about infringement on privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment. The Sanders Amendment was intoduced by Vermont Independent congressman Bernie Saunders; read his press release on the amendment's passage. The America Library Association provides background information about reader privacy issues and the Patriot Act. AP has more. A previous version of the Sanders Amendment failed in the House last year when the body split 210-210 after a similar veto threat [GCN report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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