“Democracies die behind closed doors.” So says federal judge Damon J Keith in an appellate ruling that it is unlawful to hold deportation hearings in secret without petitioning an immigration judge for the right to do so. After 9/11, the government held hundreds of such hearings without even disclosing the names of the potential deportees. One need only read the international news to see why our civil liberties are a big deal. Yesterday Spain shut down a fringe Basque political party (a move that’s sure to only spawn violence), and in Turkey a hunger strike among political prisoners continued, claiming its 55th death. In the West Bank, thugs executed a mother of seven for being an Israeli collaborator after they tortured her son until he concocted a story implicating her. As great a threat as terrorism is, stomping all over our Constitutional ideals to prevent terrorism is a greater threat, especially considering that I’m not convinced that any of the civil liberties the executive branch has tried to take away have helped to stop future terrorist attacks at all.