The second Bush term seemed less than energized about the subject of civil liberties. The President did not even bother to appoint members to an oversight board to safeguard them. A new administration with headed by a self proclaimed Constitutional Law Professor would seem to be more energized on the subject; not so much according to critics from the left leaning Nation. Critics from the right have been even more strident, saying the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet Constitution. I am not getting into the validity of those claims.
I am asking why it seems civil liberties matter so little? The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board could not meet for 5 years because it had no members. In 3 plus years, the administration did not seemed bothered enough to fill it. Under election year pressure, the President appointed members, but the chairman, which needs conformation is still awaiting the snail pace of Senate approval. It has no offices, no staff, and even had to borrow an attorney for its meeting in a borrowed room with no chairman. It is dealing with the most basic administrative issues not any oversight.
We saw the complete disregard for civil liberties in the effort to make Catholic, Muslim, and other religiously connected institutions provide contraceptive coverage. Religious freedom is a fundamental civil liberty. Religious liberty is a under assault in many ways as this link illustrates.
America seems in better position than most of the world. Even Europe is seeing a declining commitment to Press Freedoms, free speech, and religious freedom. We are the leader in the world when it comes to liberty still, but the only way it will stay that way is eternal vigilance. We have to respectfully insist that our leaders make liberty a priority factor in all of their decisions. It is not the only factor, but it should be one of the questions asked in every decision. When I prepare or vote on a policy or law, I ask how does this effect liberty? I hope that becomes standard fare one day.