This book looks at the current state of civil liberties in America, by exploring case studies of several different types of cases.
Matthew Limon is a gay teenager from Kansas who was sentenced to a seventeen-year prison term for having consensual sex with a boy three years younger. If his sex partner had been female, the sentence would have been much less. As a way to lessen the impact of a proposed total abortion ban in South Dakota, Cecilia Fire Thunder, the President of the Sioux Nation, advocated putting an abortion clinic on Sioux land. The school board of Dover, Pennsylvania attempted to force the local high school to include "intelligent design" into the biology curriculum. A middle-age science teacher named Bertha Spahr led the fight against the plan. Kot Hordynski is part of a non-violent anti-war group at the University of California, Santa Clara. The Pentagon put him on a terrorist watch list and called him a "credible threat."
Before anyone thinks that the American Civil Liberties Union, of which Romero is the Executive Director, is an anti-conservative or anti-Catholic group, consider: the ACLU defended Rush Limbaugh's right to privacy when prosecutors wanted his medical records to prosecute his drug bust; they argued that anti-abortion protestors have a right to march and be heard; the ACLU stood up for Oliver North's constitutional rights during Iran-Contra; when a high school senior wanted to put a quote from the Bible in her yearbook, the ACLU argued that she had a right to free speech-even religious speech. Also, the ACLU helped strike the provision in the Virginia constitution that denied Jerry Falwell's church the right to incorporate in Virginia.
This is a gem of a book. It does a good job of showing how civil liberties were not in good shape, entangling average people, even before 9/11; since then, things have gotten noticeably worse. It is very much worth reading.