Civil Liberties & National Security
"A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens."
–Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Hamdi v.Rumsfeld
“At times, some efforts to bypass the courts seem to have less to do with fighting terror than evading accountability.”
–Bert Brandenburg, "Courting Danger" (published 2006)
Protecting Civil Liberties in Troubled Times
The courts uphold our liberties, provided they have the authority to do so in our system of checks and balances. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, however, the USA PATRIOT Act and other policies have weakened the historic power of courts to protect our rights and check possible government abuses.
In May 2011, President Obama signed a four-year extension of the USA PATRIOT Act, including several provisions allowing seizure of records and wire-tapping without a court-issued warrant.