Is Liberty Losing Ground in America?

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Noon (Luncheon to Follow)

Featuring David K. Shipler, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Author, The Rights of the People (Knopf, 2011); and Susan N. Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union, Author, Taking Liberties (Oxford University Press, 2011); with comments by Paul Rosenzweig, Visiting Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; moderated by Timothy Lynch, Director, Cato Institute Project on Criminal Justice.

Because of the ongoing construction in our building expansion, this Cato Institute Book Forum will be held at
Mount Vernon Place, Undercroft Auditorium
900 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20001

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America is widely known as the land of the free, but is it also true that liberty has been yielding ground to government power? Two recent books maintain that civil liberties have dramatically eroded here in recent years. ACLU president Susan Herman argues that our constitutional system of checks and balances is breaking down because of exaggerated claims of presidential power in our war against al Qaeda terrorists. That shift in power has made it difficult for the courts to fully examine whether certain policies are constitutional. Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Shipler does not dispute the erosion of liberty since the 9/11 attacks, but he says the Bill of Rights has also deteriorated because of the war on drugs. His book relates numerous stories of searches without warrants, punishments without due process, and other unreasonable procedures. In criminal justice as in counterterrorism, Shipler argues, the executive branch has grabbed immense power and distorted the process of determining guilt or innocence. Join us for a discussion of these legal trends and what can be done to correct them.

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