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Civil Liberties

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Hidden beneath the controversy stirred up last week by the publication of a book called "Fire and Fury," a highly critical insider's view of the Trump White House that the president has not only denounced on national television but also tried to prevent from being published and distributed, are the efforts of the Trump administration... Read More
Amid the bad news this summer of racial tensions in Charlottesville and biblical-like floods in Houston and preening saber rattling between Pyongyang and Washington, a dangerous below-the-radar trend has been developing about which all who believe that the Constitution means what it says should be concerned. It is the reckless influence upon local law enforcement... Read More
What if the federal government captures in real time the contents of every telephone call, email and text message and all the fiber-optic data generated by every person and entity in the United States 24/7/365? What if this mass surveillance was never authorized by any federal law? What if this mass surveillance has come about... Read More
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion." -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson Is flag burning protected speech? This old issue returned front and center earlier this... Read More
"No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." -- Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The clash in American history between liberty and safety is as old as the republic itself. As far back as 1798, notwithstanding the lofty goals and individualistic values of the Declaration of... Read More
This summer, we have all witnessed the heavy hand of government intervening in the freedom of speech, as the behavior of the Secret Service at both the Republican convention in Cleveland and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia was troubling and unconstitutional. Though the First Amendment was originally written only to restrain Congress ("Congress shall make... Read More
The people in the government who want to control our personal choices are the enemies of freedom. And the enemies of freedom can be very clever and seductive. Last week, these folks, manifesting their lust to keep us dependent upon the government by rejecting the natural right to self-defense, coined a clever phrase: "No fly,... Read More
Would all of our lives be safer if the government could break down all the doors it wishes, listen to all the conversations it could find and read whatever emails and text messages it could acquire? Perhaps. But who would want to live in such a society? To prevent that from happening here, the Framers... Read More
The tragedy in Paris last Friday has regrettably been employed as a catalyst for renewed calls by governments in western Europe and even in the United States for more curtailment of personal liberties. Those who accept the trade of liberty for safety have argued in favor of less liberty. They want government to have more... Read More
The tragedy of a mass murder in Charleston, S.C., last week, obviously motivated by racial hatred, has raised anew the issue of the lawfulness of the State expressing an opinion by flying a Confederate flag at the Statehouse, and the constitutionality of the use of the First Amendment to protect hate speech and hate groups.... Read More
In their continuous efforts to create the impression that the government is doing something to keep Americans safe, politicians in Washington have misled and lied to the public. They have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution. They have created a false sense of security. And they have dispatched and re-dispatched 60,000 federal agents to... Read More
Does the FBI manifest fidelity, bravery and integrity, or does it cut constitutional corners in order to incriminate? Can the FBI cut the cable television lines to your house and then show up pretending to be the cable guy and install listening devices? Can FBI agents and technicians testify falsely and cause the innocent to... Read More
While the Western world was watching and grieving over the slaughter in Paris last week, and my colleagues in the media were fomenting a meaningless debate about whether President Obama should have gone to Paris to participate in a televised parade, the feds took advantage of that diversion to reveal even more incursions into our... Read More
When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government's left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example... Read More
What if the government is designed to perpetuate itself? What if the real levers of governmental power are pulled by agents and diplomats and bureaucrats behind the scenes? What if they stay in power no matter who is elected president or which major political party controls Congress? What if the frequent public displays of adversity... Read More
Within hours of realizing that his party lost control of the U.S. Senate last week, President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch, the chief federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., and an outstanding and apolitical professional, to be the next attorney general. The current attorney general, Eric Holder, resigned last month. Lynch is sure to be confirmed by... Read More
Because of the way the news business works, I am writing this column before the close of the polls in the so-called midterm elections, and hence as I write, I do not know their outcome. Will the Republicans or the Democrats control the U.S. Senate for the next two years? Will it make a difference?... Read More
In the years following the adoption of the Constitution, before he was Secretary of State under President Thomas Jefferson and then president himself, James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was a member of the House of Representatives. During that period of his life, he gave illuminating speeches and wrote elegant essays and letters about human... Read More
Earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to "60 Minutes" during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are looking for non-public data.... Read More
While the political commentators in the nation's capital are wrapped up in the debate over what to do about ISIS, and as one third of the Senate and nearly all members of the House campaign for re-election, the president's spies continue to capture massive amounts of personal information about hundreds of millions of us and... Read More
At the root of the chaos in the Middle East and here at home are governments that respect no limits on their exercise of power. Public officials -- who are supposed to be our public servants -- routinely behave as if they are our masters. They reject the confines of the Constitution, they don't believe... Read More
"Chilling" is the word lawyers use to describe governmental behavior that does not directly interfere with constitutionally protected freedoms, but rather tends to deter folks from exercising them. Classic examples of "chilling" occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up... Read More
After a brief holiday last week, I returned to some heavy reading courtesy of the federal government. Some of the materials that I read were gratifying, and one was terrifying. In one week, the Supreme Court told the police that if they want to examine the contents of our cellphones, whether at traffic stops or... Read More
On the same weekend that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs resigned amidst the scandal of veterans dying before the government's doctors could treat them in government hospitals, on the heels of another revelation of NSA unconstitutional spying in which federal agents have been seizing the digital images of our loved ones and friends that have... Read More
Cliven Bundy should be happy for the public revelation of the private comments of fellow racist Donald Sterling; the latter has replaced the former as the person Americans most love to hate. These two bigots recently spewed racial hatred: Bundy suggesting that African-Americans might do well to consider slavery over freedom, and Sterling offering disjointed... Read More
What is the connection between freedom and rising from the dead? When America was in its infancy and struggling to find a culture and frustrated at governance from Great Britain, the word most frequently uttered in speeches and pamphlets and editorials was not safety or taxes or peace; it was freedom. Two acts of Parliament... Read More
Except for the definition and mechanism of proving treason, no area of the Constitution addressing the rights of all persons when the government is pursuing them is more specific than the Fourth Amendment. The linchpin of that specificity is the requirement that the government demonstrate probable cause to a judge as a precondition to the... Read More
Last week, a little noticed clash took place on Capitol Hill involving the fundamental values underlying the First Amendment. The issue was the lawfulness of publishing the secrets that were given to reporters by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. The disputants were Cong. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and FBI Director James Comey. Rogers... Read More
What if another Thanksgiving Day is upon us and because of the government we have less to be thankful for than we did at the last one? What if at every Thanksgiving liberty is weakened and the government is strengthened? What if Thanksgiving's warm and breezy seduction of gratitude is just the government's way of... Read More
Andrew Napolitano
About Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, when he presided over more than 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings, and hearings. Judge Napolitano taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at Delaware Law School for two years and at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years. He was often chosen by the students as their most outstanding professor. He returned to private practice in 1995, and began television work in the same year.

As Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst since 1998, Judge Napolitano broadcasts nationwide on the Fox News Channel throughout the day, Monday through Friday. He is nationally known for watching and reporting on the government as it takes liberty and property.

Judge Napolitano lectures nationally on the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, civil liberties in wartime, and human freedom. He has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. His weekly newspaper column is seen by millions every week.

The Judge is the author of seven books on the U.S. Constitution, two of which have been New York Times best sellers. His most recent book is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?