The latest outrage from the Roberts Court involves not something the Court did but what it didn't do. Today, the Court refused to hear appeals from seven people who have been detained without charges at Guantanamo Bay. In 2008, the Supreme Court formally posed as a defender of habeas corpus in Boumediene v. Bush, holding that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 violated rights to habeas corpus possessed by those detained at Gitmo.
Last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union released some extremely disturbing data about "stop and frisk" searches in New York City. Since 1968, the Supreme Court has held that warrantless patdown searches by police require only "reasonable suspicion" rather than the "probable cause" required to obtain a search warrant under the Fourth Amendment. This watered-down standard has always been subject to abuse, and there can be little doubt that this has been the case in New York.
One of the most striking examples of the progress made by supporters of gay and lesbian rights can be seen with respect to the odious Defense of Marriage Act. The bill, which denied federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples and allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages valid in other states, had been signed by the second-most recent Democratic president after passing both the House and Senate by veto-proof margins. A little more than a decade later, President Obama—even before his recent announcement declaring support for marriage equality—had refused to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court.