Johnathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University. One more nail was put in the coffin for our Bill of Rights in December when Obama signed the National Defense act. Turley lists and explains 9 more "nails" including: Assassination of U.S. citizens, Indefinite detention, Arbitrary justice, Warrantless searches, Secret evidence, War crimes
Secret court, Immunity from judicial review, Continual monitoring of citizens, and Extraordinary renditions. his summary putting these changes in historical perspective is quoted below. Click the link above to read his description of the loss of our democracy as we slowly, security law by security law, become more like the totalitarian countries our government likes to criticize.
An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.
The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.
The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.