What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Individual Rights : S. 113. FISA Warrants/Vote to Protect Civil Liberties by Providing Judicial Discretion in Cases Involving Suspected Terrorists. (2003 senate Roll Call 145)
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S. 113. FISA Warrants/Vote to Protect Civil Liberties by Providing Judicial Discretion in Cases Involving Suspected Terrorists.
senate Roll Call 145     May 08, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In 1978 Congress passed the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which set parameters for spying on foreign agents. This vote pertains to legislation offered by Senator Feinstein (D-CA) to amend the FISA Act which would have allowed the U.S. government to spy on foreigners suspected of plotting a terrorist act even if no evidence exists that links that person to a terrorist group or state. While the GOP version of the legislation would prevent FISA judges from denying a warrant if the suspect had no connection to a terrorist group, Feinstein's measure would have allowed FISA judges more leeway in deciding whether there is adequate evidence linking a suspect to a terrorist group. Had Feinstein's bill passed, FISA judges would be allowed to reject a warrant if no evidence of a suspect's terrorist affiliations was provided. Progressives supported Feinstein's bill over the GOP version because Feinstein's measure would allow some degree of judicial discretion in cases of suspected terrorists whereas the GOP bill would not. The Feinstein bill was rejected on a 35-59 vote.

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