President Bush Pushes for Patriot Act Gains

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This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, September 10, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: President Bush says police should have the same tools to go after terrorists as they do drug dealers and other criminals. He's asking for tougher anti-terror laws, a follow-up to the Patriot Act (search) passed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Here to explain what the president wants, FOX News senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano. So what does the president want?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FNC SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Well, the president announced today, and we haven't seen the proposed legislation yet, effectively a Patriot Act II, without calling it that.

The president wants the power to issue subpoenas, that is to seize property and seize persons, without having to go to a grand jury, without having to go to a federal court. That would be unprecedented.

The president wants the power to cause people to be locked up without any bail on suspicion of terrorism without the opportunity even to ask for bail. That would be unprecedented. And the president wants to extend the federal death penalty to include when an act of sabotage is committed and an innocent life is taken. The death penalty should apply to that. That would not be unprecedented because that is already the law in most states.

GIBSON: You know, if it's me or you, we would highly object to losing habeas corpus and the works, the Fourth Amendment (search), everything. But if it's [terrorists]… who are still maybe in place acting as an active Al Qaeda (search) cell we can't find, why wouldn't we want to use these tools?

NAPOLITANO: It's tempting to want to give the federal government more tools to get more direct access to the bad guys. And they are bad guys… but the Constitution protects the rights of persons. It doesn't distinguish between good and bad, between Americans and non-Americans. And if we're going to defend our national security, that means our values as well as our real estate.

GIBSON: Right, but you and I both know George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock (search) couldn't possibly envision what we are facing today.

NAPOLITANO: Oh, of course not. I mean, they didn't consider African- Americans to be persons. And they weren't protected by the Constitution at the time. But the Constitution evolves and our attitudes evolve. And we protect a larger group of people today than we once did.

Look, the Justice Department consists of professionals… and they know exactly what they're doing. They have the tools to go after these bad guys without bending the Constitution.

GIBSON: Judge Andrew Napolitano, always an optimist. Judge, thank you very much.

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