Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy

Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy

by Susan N. Herman


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Since 9/11, the U.S. government has acted in a variety of ways—some obvious, some nearly invisible—to increase its surveillance and detention power over American citizens and residents. While most of us have made our peace with the various new restrictions on our civil liberties after 9/11, we have done it without really understanding what those restrictions are or the extent of their reach. Moreover, we tend to think that if the national security state overreaches, we shouldn't worry—the courts will come to the rescue and rein it in. In Taking Liberties, Susan Herman explains how this came to be. Beginning in late 2001, the Bush Administration undertook a series of measures, some of which were understandable and valid given the context, to expand federal surveillance authority. Yet as she shows through a series of gripping episodes involving ordinary Americans, they overreached to the point eroding basic constitutional liberties. Herman spells out in vivid detail why all Americans should be worried about the governmental dragnet that has slowly and at times imperceptibly expanded its coverage over the American public. The erosion of civil liberties doesn't just impact immigrants, Americans of Middle Eastern descent, or Guantanamo detainees, but any American who appears to be engaging in provocative political activity. Taking Liberties is a wake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199782543
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/30/2011
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Susan N. Herman became president of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2008 after serving on its national board for twenty years. A constitutional scholar and chaired professor at Brooklyn Law School, she is the co-editor (with Paul Finkelman) of Terrorism, Government, and Law and the author of The Right to a Speedy and Public Trial.

Table of Contents


PART I: DRAGNETS AND WATCHLISTS Chapter 1 The Webmaster and the Football Player The Material Support Dragnet The Football Player The Material Support and Material Witness Dragnets

Chapter 2. "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," Humanitarians,
and the First Amendment The Iranian Democrat Peacemakers and Humanitarians

Chapter 3. Charity at Home The Campaign against Charities Collateral Damage to Freedom of Religion and Association

Chapter 4 Traveling with Terror Watching the Watchlists Security Theater?
The Rights of Others

Chapter 5 Banks and Databanks Financial Institutions as TIPSters Watchlists and the Private Sector Does It Work?
Collecting the Dots Why Should I Care? - Privacy and Democracy


Chapter 6 Gutting the Fourth Amendment The Fourth Amendment and Terrorism
"Foreign" Intelligence Surveillance, Americans, and the Patriot Act Mayfield v. United States Part II The Secret Court and the One-Sided Litigation A Job for Congress and the Courts

Chapter 7 The Patriot Act and Library/Business Records American Librarians Judicial Fumbling Third Party Records and the Fourth Amendment Reconsidering the "Library Provision"

Chapter 8 Gagging the Librarians The Library Connection Other Librarian Tales

Chapter 9 John Doe and the National Security Letter Why National Security Letters?
John Doe and Victor Marrero Loosening the Gag Fourth Amendment Rights for NSL Recipients First Amendment Rights for Internet Users The Inspector General Exposés 2007-2010
National Security Letters, the Fourth Amendment, and Congress

Chapter 10 The President's Surveillance Program In the Halls of the Department of Justice The Rubber Stamp Congress Closing the Courthouse Doors Post-FAA Litigation The Secret Court Strikes Again
"What Else Is It That We Don't Know?"


Chapter 11 American Democracy - The President, the Congress, and the Courts The View from the Oval Office - From Bush to Obama and Beyond The Sleeping Watchdog Secrecy and the Courts The Eclipse of the Courts

Conclusion Ordinary Americans Restoring Balance

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Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
WilliamBT More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent writing by Susan N. Herman on The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy. Susan lays out all the ground work in this book. She has done a good job of talking about the War and the U.S. I recommend this book to everyone to read. This is a great peace. William B. Turner Author