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The Challenge of Understanding the Patriot Act Articles

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Vague and Unclear:

The challenge of understanding the Patriot Act Articles

Carl Hardin

ENGLISH 111

Professor Sagal

November 9, 2010

Vague and Unclear:

The challenge of understanding the Patriot Act Articles

There are millions on millions of articles out there for people to read and to get an understanding of the USA Patriot Act (ACT). Even with these articles, people are still trying to figure out if the ACT is helping to protect or if it is unconstitutional. Within the articles from governmental, scholarly, and journalist sources that all portray different styles of writing, you can understand why this is a problem. While doing research for a Patriot Act essay, I came across three sources that helped me get an understanding of the Act. This essay will show the challenges that readers have when it comes to reviewing such an act of congress by analyzing the three articles.

Governmental

We start by analyzing the work of the government. The Patriot Act of 2001 and all of its amendments are signed into law by the president and cannot be changed without an act of congress. Understanding of this document without the knowledge of how the article is writing and the understanding of the law can be difficult. Titles and sections within the titles break it down to help understand the Act. "Title II ENHANCED SURVEILLANCE PROCEDURES" is just part of the Act that spans four pages with all its sections and sub-sections. The way this article is written is one of the problems that make it hard for people to be able to understand. Here is a small example of the layout of the Act:

SEC. 201. AUTHORITY TO INTERCEPT WIRE, ORAL, AND ELECTRONIC

COMMUNICATIONS RELATING TO TERRORISM. Section 2516(1) of title 18,

United States Code, is amended-- (1) by redesignating paragraph (p), as so redesigned by section 434 (2) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

(Public Law 10 132; 110 Stat. 1274), as paragraph (r); and (2) by inserting after paragraph (p), as so redesigned by section 201(3) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (division C of Public Law 104-208; 110 Stat. 3009-565)(LIbrary of Congress, 2001)

By just looking at this example,(Placeholder1) you can see how challenging it is to understand what this law is representing. The Act was over 300 pages in the same lay out as the example. The Layout was very confusing, it had you jumping around thru out the document and I even had to bring up other laws and documents to see what was changed per paragraph and sections. If not for all the legal and technical writing used in the Act it would have been a great source for telling what the Act does for the average reader, but since it has all that technical writing and legal terms it is very hard to understand what you are reading without

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