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“Sufferable” or Satisficing? Hard Policy Choices within the USA Patriot Act of 2001

Author: BREENA E. COATES, PH.D.
Published in PAM, Vol. 7 No. 3

The USA Patriot Act (2001) has the laudable mission of providing
national security and stability. Yet many see this hastily crafted legislation
as raining down collateral damage upon individual rights that are protected
by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It has
also been seen as providing for expansion of executive power, and a
broader authority for the federal government. Those that argue in its favor
claim that the government was confronted with the quandary known as the
lesser-of-evils—i.e., given policy choices where no alternative is optimum, it
satisficed by choosing the least evil to preserve the national welfare. The
policy outcomes so far reveal that people got a policy that was at best not
even satisficing but merely sufferable. The paper discusses the implications
of the USAPA.

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