Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

U.S. National Archives / Ben Balter (background)

Too often, national security and personal liberties are portrayed as inversely related. This is simplistic, and also clearly wrong. After all, in the absence of security, it would be impossible to enjoy our freedoms at all. Nevertheless, some of the hardest national security choices are inevitably those that involve tradeoffs with civil liberties. The need to gather information on our enemies rubs up against expectations of privacy. The eroding line between war and law enforcement endangers principles of due process. And the need to keep secrets increasingly leads to tension with a robust free press.

 

Latest in Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Policing in America

Federal Judge Dismisses Most Claims in Lafayette Square Case

On June 21, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed several claims in the overlapping suits filed by Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union and others against former President Donald Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and a number of federal and local officers and agencies for the forcible clearing of protestors in Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020. 

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Case Summary: Fourth Circuit Upholds Terrorism Watchlist Database

On March 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in El-Hady v. Kable upheld the constitutionality of the Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB), a watchlist maintained by the FBI that currently contains the names of more than 1 million “known or suspected terrorists.” With this ruling the Fourth Circuit joins the Sixth and Tenth Circuits, both of which have upheld the constitutionality of such terrorism watchlists in recent years. 

 

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