Last night’s speaker on “Constitutional Insights,” James Arpante, ranged widely — as did a few attendees at the hour-long Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum event. He quoted from pocket-sized copies of the Constitution provided for free by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal* for everyone there.
When Mr. Arpante said “Congress can add to your rights, but it cannot take away your Constitutional rights,” someone asked how Congress could pass the USA Patriot Act** of 2001 then signed into law by President George W. Bush abridging the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments,among other changes. His reply was brief and my notes don’t say what it was, but I’ll try to get clarification.
One of the handouts was a six-page “Constitution Day Bibliography” of nearly a hundred titles available at Berkshire Community College’s Jonathan Edwards Library plus the names of a dozen related data bases.
* One of five Massachusetts’ ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote “Yea” to approve HR 3162, the USA PATRIOT Act, on Oct. 24, 2001.
** Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism