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  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Election Reform in North Carolina and the Myth of Voter Suppression

    In July 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an omnibus election reform bill, House Bill 589.[1] The bill made a number of changes in election procedures that went into effect in the May 2014 primary election, including: Eliminating same-day registration, which allowed voters to register and then vote at the same time during the early voting period,[2]…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 27, 2015 by Paul Larkin The Role for Magna Carta in America in 2015

    This year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Most Americans have heard of Magna Carta, but few know its history or the role it plays today in Anglo–American constitutional law. Fewer still know that Article 39 of Magna Carta was the parent of the Due Process Clause that is found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution.[1] The phrase “due…

  • Testimony posted July 24, 2015 by John Malcolm Criminal Justice Reform

    Testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform U.S. House of Representatives July 15, 2015 John G. Malcolm Director and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies The Heritage Foundation Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and distinguished Members of…

  • Backgrounder posted July 17, 2015 by Alden Abbott U.S. Antidumping Law Needs a Dose of Free-Market Competition

    Imported goods and services provide great benefits to the American economy. According to the 2015 Economic Report of the President: [I]nternational trade helps U.S. households’ budgets go further. Because our trading partners also specialize in the goods and services for which they are relatively more productive, the prices for those goods and services in the United…

  • Commentary posted July 14, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Persecuting Christians, attacking free speech

    My parents immigrated to the United States in 1951, after surviving the tyranny of Nazi Germany and Soviet communism. It never would have occurred to them that any American, such as Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon, would have their freedom to speak, their right to live their lives according to their religious beliefs and their ability to practice their chosen…

  • Commentary posted July 14, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Freedom to Speak and Participate in Elections

    One of the rights we should celebrate (and cherish) during Liberty Month is freedom of speech. Another is our ability to freely choose our representatives in local, state and federal elections. Freedom to speak on public policy issues as well as on candidates and politics is directly related to the election process. Indeed, that freedom is essential to the integrity and…

  • Backgrounder posted July 14, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Dangers of Internet Voting

    Those who believe that “voting online is the future” or that it is “possible given current technology” to create a secure online voting system are dangerously mistaken.[1] According to computer experts, Internet voting is vulnerable to cyber-attack and fraud—vulnerabilities inherent in current hardware and software, as well as the basic manner in which the Internet is…

  • Backgrounder posted July 14, 2015 by Alden Abbott, John Malcolm A Measured Approach to Patent Reform Legislation

    Patent rights, like other property rights, serve as a vital engine of economic growth, improving the quality—and length in the case of innovative medical devices and techniques and new pharmaceuticals—of Americans’ lives. Garage inventors and multinational companies alike spend time, effort, and money researching and developing new ideas and technologies that make…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 9, 2015 by Paul Larkin Regulatory Crimes and the Mistake of Law Defense

    In the summer of 2015, the accepted wisdom is that, for good or ill, the two major American political parties are generally incapable of agreeing on any major policy change for which new legislation is necessary or useful. One exception, however, can be seen in the area of criminal justice. Several bills with bipartisan support would reform the front or back end of the…

  • 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…