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The Snowden Effect: Examining the Legal, Policy, and Political Implications of the Revelations about the NSA Bulk Collection Metadata Program

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Edward Snowden's publishing classified information about the existence of the Section 215 bulk collection metadata program set in motion the largest debate about potential abuse in by spying agencies since

Edward Snowden's publishing classified information about the existence of the Section 215 bulk collection metadata program set in motion the largest debate about potential abuse in by spying agencies since the Watergate Scandal in the 1970's. This paper will examine the metadata program by: First, the relevant background which includes the establishment of the 20th century intelligence community, intelligence reforms in the wake of the Watergate scandal, and the changes stemming from the 9/11 attacks. Second, the Section 215 metadata program itself will be discussed, including its lawfulness. Third and finally, an analysis of potential reforms will be discussed, including ones advanced by government commissions. Ultimately, the Section 215 program has demonstrated compelling legal authority, positive benefits to national security, and a minimal need for reform. This conclusion is based on the program being consistent with the legal spirit of the Watergate Reforms, the language of the post-9/11 laws, the nature of the program, and the robust oversight protocols imposed upon the program.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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The One Person, One Vote Principle in United States Elections

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The right to cast a meaningful vote, equal in value to other votes, is a fundamental tenet US elections. Despite the 1964 Supreme Court decision formally establishing the one person,

The right to cast a meaningful vote, equal in value to other votes, is a fundamental tenet US elections. Despite the 1964 Supreme Court decision formally establishing the one person, one vote principle as a legal requirement of elections, our democracy consistently falls short of it. With mechanisms including the winner-take-all format in the Electoral College, disproportioned geographic allocation of senators, extreme partisan gerrymandering in the House of Representatives, and first-past-the-post elections, many voters experience severe vote dilution. <br/><br/>In order to legitimize our democratic structures, American elections should be reformed so every person’s vote has equal weight, ensuring that the election outcomes reflect the will of the people. Altering the current election structure to include more proportional structures including rank choice voting and population-based representation, will result in a democracy more compatible with the one person, one vote principle.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05