Civil Battles Ahead


Founded in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the lead in a host of important fights for individual rights. Libertarians don't always see eye to eye with the organization on economic issues, but when it comes to free speech, due process, and other important rights, they are frequently aligned. reason asked Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's D.C. legislative office, what she thought the top three civil liberties fights would be in the 112th Congress.

1. The declaration of worldwide war A provision to formally declare a global war wherever terrorism suspects reside will be tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act this year. It could become the single biggest ceding of unchecked war authority to the executive branch in modern American history. No president should have unchecked authority to exercise war powers without any specific objectives or limitations.

2. Internet privacy Your texts, online surfing habits, emails, and even location are all up for grabs without comprehensive Internet privacy laws in place. We're pushing Congress to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which hasn't been updated since its 1986 passage.

3. Reproductive rights Abortion rights are under attack in Congress in ways we haven't seen in decades. Anti-choice members of the House of Representatives have made their intentions clear: to roll back reproductive rights to pre–Roe v. Wade levels. If the fortitude of abortion rights supporters in the Senate and the White House falters, these freedoms will be in serious jeopardy.