Virginia attorney general Kenneth "Ken" Cuccinelli took time out from his crime-fighting crusade against climate change scientists, nondiscrimination protections for homosexuals, and the bare-breasted Roman goddess on the state seal to attend a Tea Party rally in Washington yesterday. He told the crowd of a few thousand (brightened by the usual interesting costumes) that “King George III and the parliament of Great Britain that we rebelled against respected the liberty of the colonists of America more than the Congress and the president of the United States of America,” and called the Obama health care law “the greatest erosion of liberty" in his lifetime.
Although I am not the chief law enforcement officer of Virginia, and do not even hold a law degree from Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia Beach (dedicated to educating "Christian leaders who will change the world for Christ"), I can offhand think of a few other candidates for the "greatest erosions of liberty" in my lifetime:
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which from 1956 to 1977 employed private detectives and paid informers to spy on more than 80,000 citizens suspected of supporting integration; funneled state funds to a national campaign to prevent passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; and secretly instructed county election registrars on how to prevent African Americans from registering to vote.
Operation Chaos and Project Minaret, CIA and NSA operations in the 1960s and 1970s that illegally tapped the phones and opened the mail of thousands of United States citizens who opposed the Vietnam War or engaged in other "subversive" political activities.
The Plumbers Unitthat, on direct orders of the President of the United States, wiretapped journalists, burglarized and planted listening devices in the offices of political opponents (including the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee), and ordered the IRS to harass and investigate political "enemies."
The Bush Administration's secretly ordered "terrorist surveillance program" that conducted mass surveillance of domestic communications in direct contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it a felony offense for any official acting under the color of law to monitor domestic communications without a court-approved warrant.
Bush v. Gore, in which five unelected Federal judges determined the outcome of a democratic election by ordering a halt to a recount being conducted in accordance with state law — while ruling that their decision created no legal precedent in future cases.