The security of U.S. citizens may have been increased, but their civil liberties have been reduced.
In times of perceived threat, such a trade-off strikes most Americans as worthwhile; we are susceptible to calls for locking down our liberties if we believe that doing so can help lock out threats.
It doesn't seem like an unreasonable price to pay for a reduction in freedom.
Some Americans don't agree with sacrificing their rights in favor of a safer society.
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the legislation for violating Americans' privacy, due process, and beingdiscriminatory immediately after it was passed.
Some members of Congress tried to repeal parts of the act.
As the events of September 11 became more distant, support among the public began to diminish.
Congress voted to reauthorize the 2001 Patriot Act under Presidents Bush and Obama despite the fact that the National Security Agency's ability to collect phone data has been limited.
Americans are more willing to tolerate a reduction in liberties when it is done at the expense of non-U.S. citizens.
Those accused of terrorism or of being enemy combatant were tortured by the U.S.
Although the Obama administration stopped the practice of waterboarding and many Americans object to torture, there is still support for giving terrorists trials in civilian courts.
When terror events take place overseas, a significant portion of the public want to put limits on the ability of Muslims to enter the country, something that several candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 supported, including the one who eventually won the presidency.
If we were willing to give up our freedom, we could ensure our safety from most threats.
With complete control over our movements, with the ability to monitor all our communications, and with information on our spending decisions, government could keep itself informed about which of us was likely to endanger others.
Without our civil liberties, we have no protection from the government.
The court had authorized the collection of meta data on millions of Americans' phone records, raising a question about what is protected by the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches andSeizures.
There is a lot of conflict over rights in this country.
Politics at its messiest are the battles that result from so much at stake.
Many actors get involved in the process, including the courts, Congress, the president, and the people themselves.
We now look at the role each one plays in resolving conflicts over rights, even though we focus on these actors in depth later in the book.
The job of the judiciary system is to resolve disputes between people about their rights.
The truth is that the Supreme Court's rulings have changed over time as the Court's membership has changed.
The justices are influenced by their own values, ideals, and biases in interpreting and applying the laws, so there is no guarantee that the Court will reach a correct answer to a legal dilemma.
The Supreme Court justices are subject to all sorts of political pressures, from the ideology of the presidents who appoint them to the steady influence of public opinion and the media.
At times in our history, the Court has championed the interests that fight the mainstream of American public opinion, for example, ruling in favor of those who refuse to salute the American flag on religious grounds.
Sometimes Congress stays out of disputes about rights.
Sometimes it has taken action to limit or expand the rights of Americans.
The Smith Act made it illegal to advocate the overthrow of the U.S.
In the name of national security, the House UnAmerican Activities Committee investigated and ruined the reputations of many Americans who were suspected of having sympathies for the Communist Party.
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush made appointments to the courts that made them more conservative.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 expanded civil rights protection in the workplace.
In 2010, Congress held hearings on "don't ask, don't tell," a policy that prevented gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, and the policy was repealed in December of that year.
Presidents can be involved in resolving disputes.
They can get involved by lobbying the Supreme Court.
Public pressure can help popular presidents persuade Congress to go along with their policies.
Their influence can be used to protect individual rights.
President John F. Kennedy sent a civil rights bill to Congress in 1963, which was signed by Lyndon Johnson.
Congress blocked the transfer of prisoners to mainland prisons in order to keep the center open, but President Obama decided to make some improvements to the lives of the prisoners.
The American people are involved in the struggle over rights.
Individual Americans may use the courts to try to get what they want, but more often they act in groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union is one of the best known of these groups.
The goal of the American Civil Liberties Union is to defend the liberties of Americans.
The American Nazi Party's right to stage a march is just as likely to be defended by the American Civil Liberties Union as it is by a group of parents and students challenging the removal of books with gay themes from a high school library.
These groups and many others like them work to influence government directly by meeting with lawmakers and testifying at congressional hearings.
The effects can be considerable, even though individuals may not feel very effective in trying to change what government does.
The citizens of democracies have a stake in the issue of fundamental rights.
They will gain more power for themselves and less for the government.
The resolution of real conflicts that arise as citizens try to exercise their rights at the same time is at stake.
As citizens try to maximize their personal freedoms, they are likely to clash with government rules that suppress some individual freedom in exchange for public order.
The Constitution, judicial review by the Supreme Court, congressional legislation, and the actions of citizens themselves are some of the ways in which conflicts can be resolved.