How Does the United States Compare to Other Countries in Terms of Civil Liberties?

The United States compares favorably to the majority of other countries in terms of civil liberties, ranking among the "most free" nations in the world, according to the Freedom House Annual Surveys of 2013 and 2014. Other countries ranked in this category for the same years were Uruguay, Slovenia, Lithuania, Denmark and Costa Rica.

The Freedom House Annual Survey looks for a number of factors in determining the civil liberties score of each country. These include freedoms of the media, religion, assembly and demonstration, political organization and trade.

The survey also takes into account the independence of the justice system and the security of property rights, among other factors, such as equality.

Countries with consistently low civil liberties scores on the Freedom House Annual Survey have been Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Laos.

Freedom House has been challenged, however, for displaying a bias in favor of the U.S., which provides funding for the organization. It has also been criticized for being overly simplistic, leading many to question the value of its conclusions.

On the flip side, Jonathan Turley observed in the Washington Post that the U.S. is guilty of reducing civil liberties in much the same way as some of the worst-ranking countries in the world. Examples of abuses include the assassination and secret monitoring of U.S. citizens, indefinite detention without trial, searches without warrant and executive immunity from judicial review.