• Heritage Action
  • Heritage Libertad
  • More
  • Issue Brief posted April 10, 2014 by Andrew Kloster Heart of Atlanta Motel: Public Accommodation Law at 50

    Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964.[1] This landmark piece of legislation outlawed certain forms of discrimination across the nation, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. One of the types of discriminatory conduct prohibited by the CRA was discrimination in public accommodation.[2] This…

  • Issue Brief posted March 26, 2014 by Evan Bernick Law Enforcement’s Dependence on Civil Asset Forfeiture in Georgia and Texas

    Law enforcement agencies across the nation use revenue derived from civil asset forfeiture to fund their operations. There is a certain appeal to the idea: The bad guys are deprived of ill-gotten or ill-used assets, and the good guys get to use those assets to pursue other bad guys. But there is reason to be concerned about law enforcement agencies becoming dependent on…

  • Issue Brief posted March 25, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Lessons from the Voter ID Experience in Tennessee

    The latest data from Tennessee about the state’s experience with its new photographic voter identification law show that this requirement has done nothing to suppress voter turnout throughout the state. In fact, overall turnout in Tennessee was slightly higher, and black voters turned out at higher rates than white voters in the first election held after the law became…

  • Issue Brief posted February 11, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Lessons from the Voter ID Experience in Texas

    The latest data from Texas about the state’s experience with its first election held after its new photographic voter identification law became effective show that this requirement has done nothing to suppress voter turnout throughout the state. In fact, turnout in last year’s constitutional elections in Texas yielded some of the highest turnout numbers in the past decade…

  • Issue Brief posted February 10, 2014 by Paul Larkin Supplying the Information Required by Law: Directing the Federal Government to Identify All Federal Criminal Laws

    The Heritage Foundation has been concerned about the problem of overcriminalization for years. Most (but not all) of the papers that it has published on that subject have criticized Congress for passing unnecessary or unsatisfactory criminal laws. But Heritage also has given credit where credit was due.[1] Recently, Heritage witnessed another creditworthy event. Two…

  • Issue Brief posted January 8, 2014 by Evan Bernick “The Best of Disinfectants”: Using Publicity to Fight Overcriminalization

    Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. —Louis Brandeis[1] In a representative democracy, the public must become attuned to and troubled by a problem before a political solution is possible. The Heritage Foundation’s overcriminalization…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Senate Joint Resolution 12: Sanctioning Racial Discrimination in Hawaii

    Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are, by their very nature, odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.[1] Senators Brian Schatz (D–HI) and Mazie Hirono (D–HI) recently introduced a resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 12, that would provide congressional approval of amendments to the Hawaiian Homes…

  • Issue Brief posted October 9, 2013 by Andrew Kloster The President’s Legal Authority at the Debt Limit

    Some time between the middle and the end of October, the federal government will reach a hard limit on the amount of debt it can issue, and its ability to finance governmental operations will be affected. Confusion about the debt limit abounds, and this Issue Brief will address some common questions. What Is the Debt Limit? The United States debt limit, or debt…

  • Issue Brief posted September 26, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky Concealed Carry: Illinois Supremes Catch Up on the Second Amendment

    The Illinois Supreme Court has finally joined the rest of the nation in recognizing Second Amendment rights, including the ability to carry a concealed weapon in public. Concealed Carry Law in Illinois In a decision on September 12 in Illinois v. Aguilar,[1] the Illinois court threw out as unconstitutional a state statute that made the “aggravated unlawful use of a…

  • Legal Memorandum posted September 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery Overview of the Supreme Court’s October 2013 Term

    The Supreme Court of the United States begins its next term on October 7, 2013. The 2012 term was marked by a series of high-profile civil rights cases: a challenge to the Voting Rights Act coverage formula, a case dealing with racial preferences in higher education, Arizona’s proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, and, of course, the long-awaited same-sex…

  • Issue Brief posted September 18, 2013 by Hans A. von Spakovsky What Happens During a Government “Shutdown”?

    If President Barack Obama “shuts down” the government by vetoing a continuing resolution (CR) that funds all government operations with the exception of Obamacare, or the Senate fails to pass such a CR, crucial services will continue without interruption. That includes all services essential for national security and public safety—such as the military and law…

  • Issue Brief posted August 12, 2013 by Andrew Kloster Senate Immigration Bill May Violate the Origination Clause

    The Senate immigration bill, S. 744,[1] has a major constitutional flaw that should send immigration reform advocates back to the drawing board: The bill appears to violate the Origination Clause of the Constitution. This is such a serious problem that Representative Dave Camp (R–MI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, issued a news release outlining five…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 19, 2013 by Paul Larkin Reasonably Construing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Avoid Overcriminalization

    The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the federal government’s principal legal weapon in the battle to protect computer systems and electronically stored information from thieves and vandals.[1] A criminal statute that can be enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, the CFAA also authorizes private parties to bring a civil damages action against anyone who…

  • Backgrounder posted June 17, 2013 by Paul Rosenzweig Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse, But It Is Reality

    Everyone in America knows that “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” It is drummed into students from their first civics class in elementary school, so much so that it is a part of our cultural heritage. The phrase captures an important concept about culpability. It stems from a time when criminal law was grounded in morality and a shared understanding of wrongfulness and…

  • Legal Memorandum posted June 13, 2013 by Elizabeth Slattery How to Spot Judicial Activism: Three Recent Examples

    The role assigned to judges in our system was to interpret the Constitution and lesser laws, not to make them. It was to protect the integrity of the Constitution, not to add to it or subtract from it—certainly not to rewrite it. For as the framers knew, unless judges are bound by the text of the Constitution, we will, in fact, no longer have a government of laws, but of…