• Heritage Action
  • More
  • Legal Memorandum posted June 25, 2015 by Paul Larkin Liberalizing Marijuana Use and Improving Driving Safety: Two Contemporary Public Policies on a Collision Course

    For most of the 20th century, the nation’s policies regarding marijuana and highway safety travelled along different, nonintersecting planes. There was a national consensus that the cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana should be outlawed. That policy rested on scientific research showing that marijuana is physically damaging, can be addictive, and…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 18, 2015 by Paul Larkin Revisiting Kelo

    Government uses its eminent domain power for a host of reasons. Classic examples are the need to construct a bridge, a port, a national park, or a government office building. More contemporary instances include the elimination of a public nuisance like an unprotected hazardous waste dumping site or a row of dilapidated crack houses overrun by vermin. The public generally…

  • Legal Memorandum posted April 21, 2015 by Paul Larkin The Constitutional Problems Raised by Domestic Convictions for Foreign Crimes

    Most federal criminal legislation is designed to regulate domestic affairs.[1] Over the past few decades, however, Congress has increasingly adopted several laws that apply beyond our shores. One example is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime to bribe a foreign official, a crime that can occur overseas. In those cases, Congress has clearly defined…

  • Legal Memorandum posted March 30, 2015 by Alden Abbott, Paul Larkin North Carolina Dental Board and the Reform of State-Sponsored Protectionism

    On February 25, 2015, in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC (North Carolina Dental Board),[1] the Supreme Court of the United States struck a blow for consumers and economic freedom. The case involved a North Carolina statute prohibiting non-dentists, including dental assistants, from whitening patients’ teeth and granting a board that included…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2015 by Paul Larkin Justice Department giving away the public’s money to third-party interests

    For the past decade, the U.S. Justice Department has engaged in the dubious practice of giving away the public’s money when it settles a case, by sometimes conditioning a settlement on a company’s agreement to donate money to a third party of the government’s (or the defendant’s) choosing. For example, the Justice Department settled cases last year with Bank of America…

  • Testimony posted February 26, 2015 by Paul Larkin Consumers Shortchanged? Oversight of the Justice Department’s Mortgage Lending Settlements

    Testimony Before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law February 12, 2015 Paul J. Larkin, PhD Senior Legal Research Fellow The Heritage Foundation Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, Members of the Subcommittee: My name is Paul J. Larkin, Jr. I currently am a Senior Legal Research Fellow at The Heritage…

  • Legal Memorandum posted February 12, 2015 by Michael B. Mukasey, Paul Larkin The Perils of Overcriminalization

    What has happened to federal criminal law in recent decades? Several former senior Department of Justice officials have expressed their concern with the path we have taken,[1] along with the American Bar Association,[2] numerous members of the academy,[3] journalists,[4] and other organizations like The Heritage Foundation.[5] We agree with their considered opinion that…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 8, 2014 by Paul Larkin, Jordan Richardson True Threats and the Limits of First Amendment Protection

    The First Amendment guarantees every person the right of free speech, but that right is not absolute. Some words “by their very utterance” cause injury or incite an immediate breach of peace, and they do not receive constitutional protection.[2] Among the category of unprotected speech are “true threats,” statements in which a speaker expresses a “serious” intent “to…

  • Legal Memorandum posted October 23, 2014 by Paul Larkin The Problematic Use of Nonprosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements to Benefit Third Parties

    Unlike what King John thought[1] or what Judge Dredd proclaimed,[2] the President of the United States is not “the law.” The Constitution is the nation’s fundamental law,[3] and the power to supplement it by legislation resides with Congress under Article I.[4] The President enjoys only whatever authority the Constitution or Congress grants him.[5] His principal domestic…

  • Special Report posted October 1, 2014 by Paul Larkin, David E Bernstein, Randy E Barnett, Clark M Neily, III Economic Liberty and the Constitution: An Introduction

    Contributors Paul J. Larkin, Jr., is a Senior Legal Research Fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. David E. Bernstein is George Mason University Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Randy E. Barnett is Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the…

  • Commentary posted September 3, 2014 by Paul Larkin Co-opting the criminal justice system for anti-competitive purposes

    Most people assume that legislatures pass criminal laws to benefit the public, and most of the time, they are right. Statutes outlawing murder, rape, robbery, and the like protect all of us against a small number of ruffians who would do us harm. But not every statute has that goal. Some protect favored sons and daughters at the expense of the public. When that happens,…

  • Legal Memorandum posted August 21, 2014 by Paul Larkin Co-opting the Criminal Justice System to Prevent Competition or Serve Noncompetitive Interests

    Harmfulness of Agreements Between the Government and Private Parties to Prevent Competition by Fixing Prices or Output In a recent paper, Mario Loyola argues persuasively that for 80 years, Congress and the Executive have conspired with the sugar producer lobby to artificially reduce the quantity of sugar available in the market and to raise its price to consumers.[1]…

  • Legal Memorandum posted August 12, 2014 by Evan Bernick, Paul Larkin, Jordan Richardson Is Congress Addressing Our Overcriminalization Problem? Reviewing the Progress of the Overcriminalization Task Force

    There is widespread agreement across the political spectrum that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed in several respects. One of the areas in need of correction is the overuse and misuse of substantive criminal law, a problem known by the neologism “overcriminalization.”[1] In May 2013, the bipartisan Overcriminalization Task Force, authorized by the House…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 12, 2014 by Evan Bernick, Paul Larkin Filming the Watchmen: Why the First Amendment Protects Your Right to Film the Police in Public Places

    Brandy Berning spent the night in a Florida jail because she used a cell phone to film a traffic stop on I-95.[1] George Thompson of Fall River, Massachusetts, claimed that he was verbally abused, arrested, and locked up overnight for filming a profane police officer with a cell phone from his front porch. The officer was across the street in full view and within earshot…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 9, 2014 by Paul Larkin Closing the Door to Foreign Lawsuits: Daimler AG v. Bauman

    Midway through its October 2013 term, on January 14, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a case that will make its way into every civil procedure casebook, Daimler AG v. Bauman.[1] The plaintiffs, residents and citizens of Argentina and Chile without any connection to the United States, initiated a federal court lawsuit in California against Daimler AG, a…