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  • Commentary posted August 20, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Roger Clegg Republicans Are Sponsoring a Terrible Senate Resolution

    Why would federal lawmakers want to encourage racial and ethnic discrimination? Unfortunately, Republican senators Tim Scott (S.C.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.), as well as Senate Democrat Mark Pryor (Ark.), recently introduced a resolution that would do just that. S. Res. 511 “encourages corporate, academic, and social…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2014 by Alden Abbott How to Reform Operation Choke Point

    “Operation Choke Point” (OCP) is an interdepartmental initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal financial services regulators to discourage financial intermediaries from dealing with consumer fraud-plagued industries.  In an August 4 Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum, I discuss the misapplication of this potentially beneficial project and recommend…

  • Legal Memorandum posted August 18, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Obama Administration’s Attempt to Balkanize Hawaii

    In its latest attempt to violate the limits of its constitutional authority, the Obama Administration has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) —new regulations that will determine whether the Department of the Interior will “reestablish” a “government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community.”[1] The ANPR…

  • 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 August 6, 2014 by John Malcolm Criminal Law and the Administrative State: The Problem with Criminal Regulations

    The relationship between criminal and administrative law dates to the turn of the 19th century, when Congress established early federal administrative agencies and a regulatory framework that included both civil and criminal penalties for failing to abide by the rules those agencies promulgated. However, as with federal criminal statutes, regulatory offenses that purport…

  • Commentary posted August 6, 2014 by Alden Abbott New Heritage Study Highlights Anticompetitive Features of Obamacare and Points the Way to Needed Reforms

    A study released today by the Heritage Foundation (authored by Christopher M. Pope) succinctly describes the inherently anticompetitive nature of Obamacare, which will tend to inflate prices, not reduce costs: “The growth of monopoly power among health care providers bears much responsibility for driving up the cost of health care over recent years. By mandating that…

  • Legal Memorandum posted August 4, 2014 by Alden Abbott “Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the Economy

    Misapplication of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) program known as Operation Choke Point (OCP) threatens to impose substantial costs on fully legal but government-disfavored categories of businesses, according to a May 29, 2014, report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.[1] As outlined in the House Report, OCP is implemented through DOJ…

  • Commentary posted July 30, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery Obama Administration Turns to “Hand-Packed” Court

    When it comes to defending Obamacare subsidies, the Justice Department appears none too eager to take its case to the Supreme Court. Instead, the administration announced it would appeal Tuesday’s adverse ruling by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to… the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. President Obama, it seems, likes his chances with the full…

  • Commentary posted July 28, 2014 by Alden Abbott Conditional Pricing Practices and the Limits of Antitrust

    The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) June 23 Workshop on Conditional Pricing Practices featured a broad airing of views on loyalty discounts and bundled pricing, popular vertical business practices that recently have caused much ink to be spilled by the antitrust commentariat.  In addition to predictable academic analyses featuring alternative theoretical anticompetitive…

  • Commentary posted July 28, 2014 by John Malcolm The Case For the Smarter Sentencing Act

    [Mr. Malcolm’s article is adapted from his presentation on the Smarter Sentencing Act to the Senate Republican Policy Committee on March 31, 2014. Professor William Otis of Georgetown Law School took the opposing view. His adapted remarks are also published in this Issue at 26 FED.SENT’G REP. 302 (2014). —Editor] As a former Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy…

  • Commentary posted July 24, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Obamacare’s Almost Surely Going Back to the Supreme Court

    And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: two different federal courts of appeal, issuing completely contradictory rulings on the very same day, on the very same issue. That’s what happened Tuesday. If nothing else, the dueling rulings should hasten the day when the next phase of litigation involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 24, 2014 by John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery Boehner v. Obama: Can the House of Representatives Force the President to Comply with the Law?

    A‌rticle I of the Constitution vests “All legislative powers herein ‌granted” in Congress, while Article II, section 3 requires that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But what happens when the President fails to execute the law? Time and again, President Barack Obama has pushed the limits of this duty, acting unilaterally to change or…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Alden Abbott A Reply to the Rubins on Crony Capitalism

    Paul H. Rubin and Joseph S. Rubin advance the provocative position that some crony capitalism may be welfare enhancing. With all due respect, I am not convinced by their defense of government-business cronyism.  “Second best correction” arguments can be made with respect to ANY inefficient government rule.  In reality, it is almost impossible to calibrate the degree of…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Eric Holder's Animus Towards His Critics

    Were you aware that  your opposition to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama is due at least in part because of your “racial animus,” and not because you disagree with their policies and abuse of their constitutional authority? That, anyway, is Holder’s latest claim, which shows how disconnected the attorney general is from reality. It is also more evidence…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Andrew Kloster The Supreme Court's Top Ten Cases

    With the Supreme Court on summer recess, it's time to review the biggest cases of the October 2013 docket. SCOTUSblog's "Stat Pack" notes that the Court this term had a high degree of unanimity and a relative lack of 5-4 decisions. But by margins both large and small, the court issued a number of important cases. Reasonable people can, of course, disagree about the…