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  • Issue Brief posted February 2, 2016 by Jason Snead, John-Michael Seibler Purposeless Regulation: The FAA Drone Registry

    Revised and Updated February 4, 2016 Economist Milton Friedman was onto something when he said that “[o]ne of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”[1] Because of its severe criminal penalties and dubious purpose, the Federal Aviation Administration’s new drone owners’ registry might become a classic example of…

  • Lecture posted January 21, 2016 by John Malcolm Persistent Forensics Lab Problems Undermine Faith in Our Criminal Justice System

    Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has done a real service to the bar through his Georgetown Law Journal article “Criminal Law 2.0.”[1] As is typical of Judge Kozinski’s writings, it is clear, articulate, insightful, and provocative. In that article, he says, “there are disturbing indications that a non-trivial number of…

  • Legal Memorandum posted January 14, 2016 by Paul Larkin, Jordan Richardson, John-Michael Seibler The Supreme Court on Mens Rea: 2008–2015

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was on to something when he said that even a dog knows the difference between “being stumbled over and being kicked.”[1] Anglo–American criminal law traditionally has marked a person as a criminal only if he or she[2] committed a morally blameworthy act, known as the actus reus, along with an “evil” frame of mind, known as mens rea or…

  • Commentary posted January 7, 2016 by John Malcolm Supreme Court Docket Promises Dramatic Decisions This Year

    The Supreme Court’s 2016 calendar promises plenty of excitement for court aficionados and profound “real-world” implications for the rest of society. The Affordable Care Act comes before the court — again — in Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell. The sisters are a group of nuns who care for the elderly poor. They believe that the administration’s…

  • Backgrounder posted December 22, 2015 by Andrew Kloster, Joel Griffith Illinois Pension Reform: Three Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

    In May 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court invalidated a 2013 state pension reform law as violating the Illinois constitution.[1] The law (hereinafter “Pension Reform Law”),[2] which adjusted benefit provisions and retirement ages, was held to conflict with the part of the state constitution that reads: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State…shall be an…

  • Commentary posted December 21, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Facing Investigations, DOJ Claims the Right to Avoid Investigations

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch has no intention of reversing the Justice Department’s defiance of the Inspector General Act. She made that clear during a House Judiciary oversight hearing last month. Indeed, her own Office of Legal Counsel has issued a badly flawed opinion that insists DOJ and FBI officials can, at their discretion, withhold information from the Justice…

  • Commentary posted December 21, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery Scourging Scalia: The Left's Latest Hissy Fit

    In other words, instead of students attending colleges that match their academic background, training, and credentials, the racially discriminatory admissions programs of universities like the University of Texas push many students into universities where they are in the bottom of the class from the very start of their college careers. This leads to lower grades, lower…

  • Testimony posted December 18, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, Paul Rosenzweig Comment on the CCWG-Accountability Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations

    Comment Submitted to ICANN December 16, 2015 Brett D. Schaefer Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs The Heritage Foundation Paul Rosenzweig Visiting Fellow, Allison Center The Heritage Foundation On November 30, 2015, the Cross-Community Working Group on Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) published its Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 11, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, John-Michael Seibler The Obama Administration’s Defiance of Inspectors General—A Faulty Opinion from the Justice Department

    Executive Summary This Administration promised to be the most transparent White House in history. Yet, on July 20, 2015, after 14 months of delay, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released an opinion from its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that DOJ officers could withhold information at their discretion from the DOJ Inspector General (IG), the individual tasked with…

  • Backgrounder posted December 10, 2015 by Jason Snead Taxicab Medallion Systems: Time for a Change

    In most major American cities, the taxi industry is heavily regulated. City officials treat taxi companies effectively as public utilities, tightly controlling every aspect of their operations, from the licensing of drivers to the fares they may charge. Many cities, including New York, Boston, and Chicago, operate so-called medallion systems whereby cities set a maximum…

  • Commentary posted December 9, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Sanctuary Cities Put Law-Abiding Citizens at Risk

    San Francisco and other cities across the United States have created so-called "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens. These municipalities are defying federal immigration law, just like some Southern jurisdictions that defied federal civil rights laws in the 1960s. But unlike that earlier era, today's sanctuary cities are creating safe havens for known criminals. Their…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 8, 2015 by Paul Larkin, John-Michael Seibler Agencies Not Coming Clean About the EPA’s Responsibility For Poisoning the Animas River

    Several months ago contractors and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) caused millions of gallons of water contaminated with toxic metals to spill into a river that supplies drinking water to thousands of residents in three states. Three factors captured the media’s attention: (1) the dramatic nature of the catastrophe (the poisoning of a region’s…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The Supreme Court Halts Hawaii's Discriminatory Election

    Great news out of the U.S. Supreme Court on the day after Thanksgiving. I wrote last week about the emergency appeal filed with the High Court by Judicial Watch on behalf of several Hawaiian voters trying to stop the ongoing, discriminatory election being held in Hawaii that excludes anyone who doesn’t met the definition of “Native Hawaiian.” Both the Hawaii federal…

  • Backgrounder posted December 3, 2015 by Alden Abbott Time to Repeal Agricultural Marketing Orders

    Imagine that you and your family have run a family farm for generations, raising a legal and healthy food crop that is popular with American consumers. Until recently, you dealt with middlemen (“handlers”) who processed, packed, and sold your crop to consumers but held some back from the marketplace. You have determined, however, that using handlers is costing you a great…

  • Legal Memorandum posted December 3, 2015 by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Elizabeth Slattery Discriminatory Racial Preferences in College Admissions Return to the Supreme Court: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

    This term, the U.S. Supreme Court is reconsidering whether it is constitutional for the University of Texas at Austin to use race in its undergraduate admissions decisions, to the detriment of some students and the benefit of others. In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Abigail Fisher argues that the school’s policy of giving racial preferences to preferred…