"Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors": Civil Liberties and National Defense

by Nadine Strossen

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[Strossen] Nadine Strossen challenges the government's claim that it needs sweeping new surveillance powers to combat terrorism.

[Strossen] Strossen argues that new legislation flunks a basic constitutional test: it does not maximize security with minimal cost to liberty.

[Strossen] Strossen cites leading conservatives who oppose the USA Patriot Act--and chides Attorney General John Ashcroft for saying opponents of the law may be guilty of treason.

[Strossen] Strossen provides examples of the ways in which civil rights have been undermined, from strip searches to secret deportation hearings.

[Strossen] Strossen fields questions about government surveillance, airline safety, the ACLU's position on military action, and the Supreme Court's record on civil liberties.

Related links

American Civil Liberties Union

USA Patriot Act

ACLU report: "Insatiable Appetite: The Government's Demand for New and Unnecessary Powers after September 11"

Coleen Rowley's Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Nadine Strossen

Nadine Strossen, professor of law at New York Law School, has written, lectured and practiced extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. In 1991, she was elected president of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the organization.

The National Law Journal has twice named Strossen one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America." Her writings have been published in more than 100 publications and she writes monthly columns for the online journals Intellectual Capital and The Position.

Strossen graduated magna cum laude in 1975 from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law for nine years in Minneapolis and New York City.

COPYRIGHT | This material was adapted from a lecture given on October 23, 2002 at the University of Chicago Law School. Copyright 2002 the University of Chicago.

(c) 2004 The University of Chicago :: Please direct questions or comments to furlong@lib.uchicago.edu