Explain how since 9/11, questions of civil liberties and constitutional guarantees of freedom have again come under fire

Essay by Mark0182College, Undergraduate May 2004

download word file, 1 pages 2.6

In the twentieth century we have already had two red scares-after world war one and again after world war two that resulted in serious challenges to constitutional guarantees of rights and freedom. Since 9/11, questions of civil liberties and constitutional guarantees of freedom have again come under fire. Civil liberties are fundamental individual rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, protected by law against unwarranted governmental or other interference. The events of September 11th are being used as an excuse to crack down on civil liberties. There is an attempt to extend the definition of 'terrorism' to include all sorts of legitimate protest.

In his first address to the nation following 9-11, president Bush said that America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one, he emphasized, "will keep that light from shining." Within days of the President's affirming the need to keep freedom strong, his administration, with the support of Congress, sought and eventually gained an expansive array of new powers that threaten to undermine the system of checks and balances so essential for the protection of civil liberties. After about a month and a half of deliberation, Congress, with the strong support of the President, passed a complex, drafted 342-page piece of legislation known as the USA Patriot Act. As a result, our laws and regulations now permit the government to detain non-citizens facing deportation based merely on the Attorney General's certification that he has "reasonable grounds to believe" the non-citizen endangers national security. After September 11, more than 1,200 individuals were arrested or detained and an unknown number of these people are still in government custody. Since they are not American citizens, we tend to view them as having fewer rights than...