Category: Civil Liberties

November 22, 2004

Litigating the Election

Without much fanfare, a number of lawyers are busy mounting court challenges to the election. Lawsuits have been filed and other actions are being taken in Ohio and Florida, the two key electoral states. Members of Congress have demanded a General Accountability Office investigation of the election. The largest Freedom of Information Act request in… Read more »

October 28, 2004

Beware Scalia-Thomas Clones

After months of intense campaigning about Iraq, terror, taxes and jobs, the future of the Supreme Court has finally entered the public discourse. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is in the intensive care unit, after undergoing a tracheotomy for thyroid cancer. The Court issued a terse statement, saying the Chief would take the bench when the… Read more »

October 20, 2004

Bush Gets ‘F’ in Civil Rights

While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth … We do not accept this, and we will not allow it … And this is my solemn pledge:… Read more »

August 31, 2004

Bush’s War on Democracy

When George W. Bush’s weapons-of-mass-destruction rationale for invading Iraq evaporated, his excuse morphed into bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. But the way Bush has eviscerated our democracy in the United States is proof positive that his democratic credentials are phony. We have seen our government assault First Amendment rights in the past – during… Read more »

June 30, 2004

Supreme Court: War No Blank Check for Bush

In a direct repudiation of the Bush administration’s position that the President is answerable to no one, the Supreme Court held the Guantánamo prisoners and U.S. citizen Yaser Hamdi are entitled to contest their detention in federal courts. The Court, however, punted in Jose Padilla’s case, holding that he filed his case against the wrong… Read more »

March 17, 2004

Spain, the EU and the US—War on Terror or War on Liberties?

Once again, the eyes of the world are focused on a brutal and devastating terrorist attack on innocent civilians, this time in Spain. But instead of demanding tougher anti-terrorism laws, the Spaniards on Sunday voted out the center-right government that supported the Iraq war. The Spanish people, who had overwhelmingly opposed the war, were evidently… Read more »

June 11, 2003

Dropping the Ball on Torture: The US Supreme Court Ruling in Chavez vs. Martinez

The use of torture to obtain information from suspects has become an important topic in fighting the war on terror. In December, for example, the Washington Post reported that CIA officials at Bagram air base in Afghanistan used interrogation techniques that could constitute torture. In Chavez v. Martinez, decided May 27, the United States Supreme… Read more »

February 6, 2003

A Double Standard on Torture: The U.S. Should Practice What We Preach

The Bush administration has a double standard on torture and human rights violations as it prosecutes the “war on terror.” While trying to convince the American people in his State of the Union address that war with Iraq is necessary, President George W. Bush marshaled accusations that Saddam Hussein has tortured his people to coerce… Read more »

December 7, 2002

Three Strikes: Bad Cases Make Bad Law

When former governor Pete Wilson signed California’s three strikes law, he compared the construction of new prisons which would be required to house the increased inmate population to building the University of California system: “We’re producing … capital improvements for future generations, and they rightly can be called upon to help pay for it.” Following… Read more »

August 19, 2002

War on Civil Liberties Hits a Speed Bump

“Watch out for well-meaning men of zeal!” These words penned 74 years ago by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis are no less relevant today. Brandeis was dissenting from a ruling that exempted wiretapping from the protections of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court later reversed its decision, holding that the government must follow the… Read more »