Dahlia Lithwick of Slate asks, in relation to a recent Supreme Court decision giving the federal government the authority to indefinitely detain “sexually dangerous” persons after their sentence is served (something similar to the Dutch system of “tbs”, I assume), when we stopped worrying about the executive’s encroachment on citizens’ civil liberties:
Once, when it was fashionable to worry about Congress or the president asserting limitless authority to detain people, we would have been nervous about a Supreme Court decision expanding the authority to do so. But by now we have mainly slept our way though the Obama administration’s talk of indefinite detention for Guantanamo detainees, generalized wobbliness on civilian trials for terrorists, embrace of the state secrets doctrine, and recent discussions about “modernizing” the Miranda warning, as well as a host of other Bush-lite war-on-terror powers. Is it possible that most of us haven’t noticed that the Supreme Court has just handed Congress broad authority to detain people merely because they show signs of future dangerousness?
The answer is, of course, that liberal or progressive-minded people stopped worrying when Obama got elected.