Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). It was so pre-9/11 anyway. Instead we may get "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." What could go wrong?
Is this America's new meme? Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), May 18, 2006: "I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead." (via) Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), December 19, 2005: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead." Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), responded to Cornyn: "Give me liberty or give me death." Good on that. First Amendment, Fourth Amendment (General Hayden's version), civil liberties.
Sneering at President John Adams as "querulous, Bald, blind, crippled, Toothless Adams" got Ben Franklin's grandson arrested under the Sedition Act of 1798. Federalists like Adams and Alexander Hamilton used the Sedition Act to muzzle highly aggressive elements of the press. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison fought back -- and won. Understanding this early power grab by the U.S. executive branch helps put recent events into historical context. The struggle itself has been part of the United States of America since the beginning, and anyone working to fight Cheney and Ashcroft's unconstitutional assault happens to be in pretty good company. Happy Fourth of July.