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civil liberties



  • Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover—Enemy of Democracy

    Beverly Gage's book explains the FBI director's longevity not to dark arts of blackmail and secret-keeping, but to a more straightforward and disturbing explanation: many Americans shared Hoover's reactionary views and liked how he cracked down on dissenters. 



  • Are Americans Ready for their Neighbors to Turn Them In?

    From abortion to classroom teaching, state laws are increasingly incentivizing people to report other members of the community for violating new restrictions. Experts say this has worked in the past to erode trust and enable further authoritarianism. 



  • Will Biden Finally Pardon Callie House?

    Callie House led an organization that sought pensions as a form of reparation and relief for formerly enslaved people. In 1917 unfriendly federal officials prosecuted her for mail fraud for circulating her organization's materials. 



  • Review: David Sehat on the Struggle to Make a Secular America

    by Johann N. Neem

    In "This Earthly Frame," Sehat examines the way that activists in the 20th Century pushed the nation from an implicit privileging of Protestant Christianity toward a posture of "negative secularism" that separated the functions of government from doctrinal belief, and the transience of that victory. 



  • The Coming Pregnancy Surveillance State Will Bring "Homeland Security" to Women's Bodies

    by Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz

    The Dobbs ruling puts longstanding racist and nationalist beliefs that white women's reproductive labor is the price of their citizenship, and punitive controls on women of color, on collision course with the modern capacity of digital surveillance, threatening the criminalization of any miscarried pregnancy. 



  • The Demise of the Church-State Wall

    by Steven V. Mazie

    A political scientist and court correspondent says that SCOTUS has adopted a radical version of the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment that makes a mockery of the historic separation of religious and political authority. 



  • Mary Ziegler: Right Won't Stop at Roe

    Law professor Mary Ziegler explains how the anti-abortion movement upended the GOP establishment and helped push the courts to the right. Her new book is Dollars for Life.



  • We're Facing the Results of the Dems' Retreat from Secularism

    by Jacques Berlinerblau

    By trying to match the Republicans on bringing Christian faith into policy, Democrats abandoned the difficult but necessary struggles to define how a diverse society protects religious freedom for majority and minority faiths – and those of no faith. 



  • How the Public Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Wiretapping

    by Andrew Lanham

    Brian Hochman shows that the white backlash to civil rights and racial justice protests helped to undermine longstanding civil libertarian opposition to electronic surveillance and normalize the idea of the government spying on Americans. 



  • How Rights Went Right

    by David Cole

    Is an all-or-nothing view of constitutional rights at the root of growing cultural clashes pitting civil rights against the free exercise of religion? A new book suggests alternatives. 


  • On the Illogic of War

    by Don Fraser

    The logic of war rejects dissent and the moderating influence of political concerns in the pursuit of destruction, and liberal democracies aren't exempt. 



  • Russian Academics See "No Future" at Home

    While many Western academics have focused on the danger faced by Ukrainian scholars, it is clear that the domestic politics of Russia are increasingly dangerous for academic freedom as well. 



  • The "Who Cares if You're Innocent" Project on the Right

    Recent Senate hearings for Biden's court nominees, and the opinions of some Supreme Court justices on criminal cases, suggest that constitutional protections for the right to counsel are in jeopardy, says legal historian Sara Mayeux.