Steven Greenhut on the Flurry of Civil Liberties Legislation in California


David Monniaux/Wikipedia

Since its inception, our nation has struggled to find the right balance between protecting the rights of individuals—our civil liberties—and ensuring that government has the tools to protect the public's safety and security. Since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, that pendulum has swung sharply and understandably in the security direction. Such a tilt has not only been obvious in national policymaking, but at the state level, where legislators are attuned to public attitudes and to the demands of special interests. Police unions, for instance, are among the most powerful interest groups in California and few state legislators from either party want to endure their wrath during campaign season. There are signs, however, writes Steven Greenhut, that the pendulum has hit its apex and is starting to shift direction.