Option 1: In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, a law called the USA Patriot Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. Regulations were put into place as a result of this law that increased the powers of various government agencies to engage in surveillance activities on American citizens under broader circumstances than ever before. This called into question for many people whether the legislation trampled on the civil liberties of Americans. Although reforms to the Act have resulted in changes intended to reduce these fears, in a number of court cases, interest groups have engaged in activities in an attempt to influence the outcomes.


Assignment Guidelines

Write an essay of between 2–4 pages on 1 of these issues. You will need to access various types of outside sources to respond thoroughly to the following questions and topics, and include appropriate and properly formatted SPA-style citations:

  1. What are the key provisions of law that are at the center of this debate?
  2. Which interest groups and individuals are active on both sides of the debate on this issue, and what specific interests are they attempting to promote?
  3. What is the current legal situation on this issue?
  4. Using research from your text, the AIR Library, supplemental course materials, and Web-based resources for background, what activities have the groups or individuals promoting various positions on this issue engaged in that you think might have influenced legal interpretation?
  5. What do you conclude about how public opinion, actions of interest groups, and media coverage do or do not have the potential of influencing the outcome of court cases on important social policies?