Civil Liberties & Privacy

U.S. Justice in the War on Terrorism

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Suspected pipe-bomb terrorist Luke J. Helder should be counting his lucky stars that he was captured by the American police before the U.S. military could intervene. Just ask Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who was recently the target of a missile fired by CIA forces in Afghanistan. Even though Hekmatyar was not part of the Taliban or al-Qaeda, he has nevertheless ... [click for more]

World War I and the Suppression of Dissent, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 IN THE SUMMER OF 1905, labor radicals assembled in Chicago to found a new group the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). It operated in competition with the more conservative American Federation of Labor (AFL), then the most powerful labor group in the United States. As well as embodying socialism, the IWW embraced less-restrictive ... [click for more]

Jimmy Carter’s Freedom

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Jimmy Carter’s remarks during his recent trip to Cuba are a perfect reflection of the muddled mindset that characterizes both Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the subject of freedom. Carter raised the importance of four aspects of liberty during his trip—political liberty, civil liberty, economic, and educational ... [click for more]

A Devotion to Democracy?

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What’s with the love fest between U.S. officials and army generals? We have, of course, (retired) Army General Colin Powell serving as U.S. secretary of state. And we have (or will have) military tribunals manned by army officials, rather than jury trials by civilians, for foreigners accused of terrorism. There is Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani army ... [click for more]

Military Tribunal Rules Violate the Rule of Law

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The government giveth and the government taketh away. Sometimes it does so simultaneously. When the Bush administration announced it would hold military tribunals for captured Taliban and al-Qaeda members, concern about the un-America nature of the proceedings were so loud the Pentagon was forced to go back to the drawing board to fine-tune the plan. When ... [click for more]

Freedom and Campaign-Finance Reform

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Amidst not very much fanfare, President Bush has signed the new campaign-finance reform bill into law. This one closes the so-called soft-money loophole that permits large donations to be injected into federal campaigns through contributions to political parties. There are two big problems, however, with this most recent attempt to end corruption in the political process: First, it won’t work ... [click for more]

Bush’s Contempt for Trial by Jury

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BOWING TO PUBLIC PRESSURE, the Bush administration has modified its rules for the trials of suspected terrorists captured abroad. Included among the new rules are: (1) the accused will be presumed innocent rather than guilty; (2) the government will be required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) the defendant will have the right to have an attorney ... [click for more]

Civil Liberty and the State: The Writ of Habeas Corpus

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LIMITING THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT has been one of the leading struggles in the history of mankind. Through most of man’s time on earth, governments have presumed to rule, command, order, and threaten multitudes of human beings — to make the mass of humanity bend to the will of their political masters. The political rulers have often considered themselves to ... [click for more]

Andrea Yates: Person or Nonperson?

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Andrea Yates has been convicted of murder. But the debate over the insanity plea will continue. Yates admitted to methodically drowning her five young children in a bathtub. Yet she claimed that mental illness made her do it and she didn’t know right from wrong. This is nothing but a modern, secular version of ... [click for more]

The Right to Confront and Cross-Examine Witnesses

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Included among the Bush administration’s new rules for the trials of suspected terrorists captured abroad is the right of the accused (or his attorney) to confront and cross-examine witnesses, a right guaranteed to Americans in criminal prosecutions by the Sixth Amendment. But the Bush administration is being disingenuous in the ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights at Work

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The unfolding developments in the John Walker Lindh case and the Guantanamo "detainees" situation reflect why Americans should be so grateful to our early ancestors for demanding the first ten amendments to the Constitution as a condition of adopting the Constitution. Recall that there was tremendous resistance among the several states to the adoption of the ... [click for more]
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