Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Farber, Security v. Liberty: Conflicts Between Civil Liberties and National Security in American History

SECURITY V. LIBERTY: CONFLICTS BETWEEN CIVIL LIBERTIES AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN AMERICAN HISTORY, edited by Daniel Farber, U.C. Berkeley -- Boalt School of Law, has just been published by the Russell Sage Foundation. Farber has posted this abstract on SSRN:

Threats to national security generally prompt incursions on civil liberties. The relationship has existed since the presidency of John Adams and has continued through two World Wars, the Cold War, Vietnam, and to the present day. Though this historical phenomenon is commonplace, the implications of that history for our post-9/11 world are less clear.

In the long run, if we are to cope with present and future crises, we must think deeply about how our historical experience bears on a changing world. This book, published by the Russell Sage Foundation, addresses the past and present relationship between civil liberties and national crises, with contributions from leading legal scholars and historians. They seek both to draw historical lessons and to explore how the present situation poses unique issues. The contributors include Alan Brinkley, Daniel Farber, Stephen Holmes, Ronald D. Lee, Jan Ellen Lewis, L.A. Powe, Jr., Ellen Schrecker, Paul M. Schwartz, Geoffrey R. Stone, and John Yoo.

Russell Sage has a more extensive book description, including this description of some chapters:
Security v. Liberty focuses on periods of national emergency in the twentieth century—from World War I through the Vietnam War—to explore how past episodes might bear upon today’s dilemma. Distinguished historian Alan Brinkley shows that during World War I the government targeted vulnerable groups—including socialists, anarchists, and labor leaders—not because of a real threat to the nation, but because it was politically expedient to scapegoat unpopular groups. Nonetheless, within ten years the Supreme Court had rolled back the most egregious of the World War I restrictions on civil liberties. Legal scholar John Yoo argues for the legitimacy of the Bush administration’s War on Terror policies—such as the detainment and trials of suspected al Qaeda members—by citing historical precedent in the Roosevelt administration’s prosecution of World War II. Yoo contends that, compared to Roosevelt’s sweeping use of executive orders, Bush has exercised relative restraint in curtailing civil liberties. Law professor Geoffrey Stone describes how J. Edgar Hoover used domestic surveillance to harass anti-war protestors and civil rights groups throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Congress later enacted legislation to prevent a recurrence of the Hoover era excesses, but Stone notes that the Bush administration has argued for the right to circumvent some of these restrictions in its campaign against terrorism. Historian Jan Ellen Lewis looks at early U.S. history to show how an individual’s civil liberties often depended on the extent to which he or she fit the definition of “American” as the country’s borders expanded. Legal experts Paul Schwartz and Ronald Lee examine the national security implications of rapid advances in information technology, which is increasingly driven by a highly globalized private sector, rather than by the U.S. government.

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