Will Barack Obama Join Woodrow Wilson in the Civil Liberties Hall of Shame?

At Reuters, liberal George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen has a long and very interesting piece comparing the notorious civil liberties violations committed by President Woodrow Wilson and his attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer to the troubling behavior of the NSA under President Barack Obama. “Obama is far from resembling Palmer in terms of civil liberties abuse,” Rosen writes, “but his conviction in his own progressive righteousness is an unfortunate trait when it comes to designing and overseeing surveillance programs.” As Rosen sees it, the time has come for Obama to drop that self-righteousness and start taking the Fourth Amendment seriously. He writes:

The Obama administration has consistently swatted down lawsuits that challenge it by saying that citizens who believe they have been victims of surveillance lack standing to bring them. It has also prosecuted the very whistleblowers whose leaks made possible the national debate the president says he welcomes.

Constitutional conversations are always welcome, and the one we’re having now could clarify the meaning of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions on unreasonable searches and seizures. The real lessons of the Palmer raids, however, suggest that instead of continuing to compromise the Fourth Amendment, Obama will ultimately have to acknowledge that it constrains national security intelligence gathering. Otherwise, he risks a similarly harsh verdict in the eyes of history.

Read the whole story here. More on the NSA scandal here.

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  • fish||

    Will Barack Obama Join Woodrow Wilson in the Civil Liberties Hall of Shame?

    What??? This is the first I've heard of these abuses.....I heard something on the evening news but I can assure you that I'm completely clueless about these things.

    /O b a m a

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I don't think Obama is capable of entertaining the idea that he will not be loved for eternity. He won't back down, because he can't / won't believe there will be any negative impact on him, and he's probably right.

  • Zeb||

    Obama doesn't believe anything. He's just a character on a TV show.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Otherwise, he risks a similarly harsh verdict in the eyes of history.

    History will ultimately be written by the sycophants.

  • Drake||

    The commonly accepted version of Wilson's history was.

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    They turned Woodrow and Truman into heroes and are busy turning LBJ into one. So Obama is in no trouble at all.

  • Zeb||

    I find it interesting that you identify one president by his first name, one by his last and another by his initials.

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    I identified two by last name actually.

  • Zeb||

    Which two? I don't recall any Mr. Woodrow or Mr. LBJ being president.

    I'm not trying to pick on you here. I just thought it was amusing. You got your point across and I don't disagree.

  • Zeb||

    "Which two?"
    Obama. Duh. Long day.

  • Loki||

    Will Barack Obama Join Woodrow Wilson in the Civil Liberties Hall of Shame?

    No, because... RACISM!!!! And, Err... BOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHH!!!!1!!!!!!111!

  • Zeb||

    Well, Wilson was also a pretty bad racist. Oh, that's not what you mean is it?

  • ||

    Obama is surrounded by sycophantic yes-men, completely insulated from criticism, in an echo chamber of demagoguery.

    This allows him to whistle past the graveyard of previous administrations and be comfortable in his belief that all is going well and he will be remembered as a transformational President of the highest order.

    This is all very bad news for us, since it means that it will take him facing resistance from the left of a level unseen since LBJ for him to do any kind of soul searching.

  • Jordan||

    The civil liberties hall of fame, aka the Progressive hall of fame.

  • Jordan||

    Civil liberties hall of shame*

    Argh.

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    Woodrow is the Civil Liberties Hall of Shame? I don't think so. Nor is Lincoln or FDR for that matter.

  • Zeb||

    You did it again. Is there some reason behind your presidential naming scheme?

    TO address what you are actually saying: Wilson is in the hall of shame. It's just one of those things that no one visits or knows about. I'm amazed at the confused reactions I get when I say Wilson was one of the worst presidents. Not on;y did he get us into the worst and most pointless war in history (at the time), he also was a horrible racist and ignorer of civil rights.
    But I guess he wanted the LEague of Nations and good intentions are all that counts.

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    Huh. You're right about the way I named the Presidents. Not sure why? Just the way I call them? Woodrow is an unusual name to me and the initials differentiate them from the other presidents with the same surname.

    As for Woodrow Wilson don't forget that he was big government statist too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Freedom

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....d_politics

  • lap83||

    What do you mean?!? Democrats are always impeccable on civil liberties. It's just that the Rethuglicans refuse to let the Perfect World of Civil Liberties, Tolerance and Diversity, that the Democrats are trying to create, exist. That's why we have to take away their so-called "rights" to own guns, have beliefs in a higher power besides Obama, drink slurpees, choose a school, etc. It's because they hate civil liberties, that's why we do it. Also, because we know better.

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