Friday, February 21, 2003

Patriot Act Requires Lawyers to be Informants

Eric over at Is that Legal is rightfully puzzled about the fact that no one seems too concerned about a provision in the USA PATRIOT ACT (Jeebus, the fact that the administration wasn't tarred and feathered by the media over having the nerve to call that excrement the PATRIOT ACT... but, I digress) which requires Real Estate Lawyers to check if their clients are in the government's database of Big Baddies, and if so snitch on them. He says:

Two things jump out at me here. First, this is a spot where the reach of the USA PATRIOT Act is just enormous. It affects every single real estate transaction in the nation. From an administration that purports to be concerned about protecting state and local power from the reach of the federal government, this is an extraordinary foray into what has always been understood to be a core matter of state and local concern--transactions in real property.

Second, the USA PATRIOT Act here seems to tamper with the attorney-client relationship in a fundamental way. Not only does the law create an obligation for lawyers to rat on their own clients, it also creates an obligation for lawyers to conceal things from their own clients.

Well, I wasn't too concerned because I didn't read about it until this moment. Now I am concerned.