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  • 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…

  • Commentary posted June 24, 2015 by Jason Snead A dysfunctional civil-forfeiture system seizes savings, destroys lives

    Mandrel Stuart used to be a small-business owner. Unfortunately, he had to close down his Staunton, Virginia restaurant, the Smoking Rooster. Not because of poor sales or harsh food critics, but because one day in 2012, Fairfax police officers turned a routine traffic stop into a chance to seize $17,550 of Mr. Stuart’s hard-earned money. How? Civil asset-forfeiture…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted June 8, 2015 by Jordan Richardson Too many ordinary people caught in web of injustice

    Overcriminalization, the overuse or misuse of criminal law to address societal problems, is a troubling phenomenon that touches every segment of society. It manifests itself in a variety of ways, including overly broad definitions of criminal acts, excessively harsh sentencing and criminal sanctions for simple mistakes or accidents. However, overcriminalization has a…

  • Special Report posted June 3, 2015 by James L. Gattuso, Alden Abbott, Curtis S. Dubay, David Inserra, Paul Rosenzweig, Michael Sargent, Brett D. Schaefer Saving Internet Freedom

    Table of Contents Net Neutrality: Reining in Innovation Internet Governance: Past, Present, and Future Regulatory Barriers to Online Commerce Protecting Internet Commerce from Undue Tax Burdens Copyright and the Internet: Getting the Balance Right The Intersection of Internet Freedom and Cybersecurity E-mail Digital Privacy In the space…

  • Commentary posted June 2, 2015 by Jason Snead Hogan fails on forfeiture reform

    Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill that had been passed nearly unanimously by the State Senate. Senate Bill 528 would have closed the "equitable sharing" loophole that perversely incentivizes Maryland's law enforcement agencies to circumvent state forfeiture laws for financial gain. Property owners caught up in the forfeiture system…

  • Backgrounder posted June 1, 2015 by Jordan Richardson Shining a Light on Overcriminalization

    Overcriminalization—the overuse or misuse of the criminal law to address societal problems—is a troubling phenomenon that touches every segment of society.[1] It manifests itself in a variety of ways, including overly broad definitions of criminal acts, excessively harsh sentencing, and criminal sanctions for simple mistakes or accidents under a theory of strict…

  • Commentary posted May 28, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Very Big News Out of New Orleans on Immigration

    As Patrick Brennan notes, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just handed the Obama administration a huge defeat. It denied the government’s request for an emergency stay of a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of President Obama’s immigration amnesty program. This is not a decision on the merits of the lawsuit filed against the…

  • Commentary posted May 28, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Loretta Lynch Should Stand Up for the Voting Rights of Every Citizen, Regardless of Race

    A  May 8 decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has given new attorney general Loretta Lynch her first public test: Will she break from Eric Holder’s policies by enforcing voting-rights law on a race-neutral basis, as Congress intended, or will she continue Holder’s non-neutral enforcement policy? For those who don’t remember, in 2011 the Center for Individual…

  • Commentary posted May 21, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The FEC’s Latest Great Idea: Dismantle Capitalism to Get More Women in Office

    Earlier this month, I predicted that a scheduled hearing at the Federal Election Commission was shaping up to be nothing more than a presentation of “the goofy gender ideology and politics of the progressive Left and academia.” And, oh, how right I was. The May 12 forum on “Women in Politics” was organized by FEC chairwoman Ann Ravel without the approval of any of her…

  • Backgrounder posted May 21, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Charles "Cully" Stimson, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., John Malcolm, Paul Rosenzweig Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Metadata Collection: Responsible Options for the Way Forward

    Updated May 29, 2015 The Real and Growing Threat of Terrorism Any debate about America’s counterterrorism capabilities must be conducted in the context of the actual terrorist threat the U.S. faces. Since 9/11, The Heritage Foundation has tracked Islamist terrorist plots and attacks, which now, after the recent shooting in Garland, Texas, total 68.[1] This figure,…

  • Legal Memorandum posted May 20, 2015 by Alden Abbott You Don’t Need the FCC: How the FTC Can Successfully Police Broadband-Related Internet Abuses

    On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to impose 1930s-era “common carrier” regulations on Internet providers by enacting an “Open Internet Order.” As a Heritage Foundation analysis points out,[1] this decision threatens to generate hundreds of new rules that will raise the costs of Internet firms, deter innovation, and reduce competition among…

  • Legal Memorandum posted May 7, 2015 by Elizabeth Slattery Who Will Regulate the Regulators? Administrative Agencies, the Separation of Powers, and Chevron Deference

    The Schoolhouse Rock classic “Three Ring Government” teaches children about the separation of powers embodied in the Constitution by comparing the three branches of government to a three-ring circus. The song explains that “no one part [of government] can be more powerful than any other.” The President is the “ringmaster of the government,” Congress is tasked with…

  • Commentary posted May 1, 2015 by Edwin Meese III Why the Supreme Court should strike down Obamacare subsidies

    Two questions will dictate not only the future of healthcare, but also the balance of power between Washington, D.C., and the states, and the separation of powers between the federal branches. One concerns state sovereignty, the other the heckler's veto. When justices heard arguments regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) in King v. Burwell on March 4,…

  • Commentary posted April 29, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Eric Holder’s legacy

    As Attorney General Eric Holder finally departs, he leaves behind a demoralized Justice Department that has been politicized to an unprecedented degree. Attorneys general are obligated to enforce the law in an objective, unbiased and nonpolitical manner. They must demonstrate the highest regard for the best interests of the public and their sworn duty to uphold the…