Jacob Sullum from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 16 Jul 2019 03:03:06 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Jacob Sullum from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/jacob-sullum-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum 646b92b8a429ac2293db245d6f9fba6e Blame Wilbur Ross' Clumsy Lies for the Census Mess: The Commerce Secretary Could Easily Have Reinstated the Citizenship Question If He'd Been Less Transparently Dishonest for 07/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/19/blame-wilbur-ross-clumsy-lies-for-the-census-mess-the-commerce-secretary-could-easily-have-reinstated-the-citizenship-question-if-hed-been-less-transparently-dishonest Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you want to understand why the Trump administration is scrambling at the last minute to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census, you have to look beyond the lawsuits filed by Democrats anxious about the question's political impact. The only reason that litigation produced a June 27 Supreme Court decision blocking the question was the blatant, bumbling mendacity of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose rationale for the change Chief Justice John Roberts and four of his colleagues deemed "contrived" and "pretextual."</p> <p>Whether that conclusion should make a legal difference is a matter of dispute; four justices thought it shouldn't. But if Ross, whose department includes the Census Bureau, had told the truth &#8212; or even if he had been better at lying &#8212; census forms with the citizenship question would already be rolling off the presses.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 10, 2019</p> 43be484f2daccc1c951629f05c89aed5 Harris and Trump Unite to Defend the Imperial Presidency: The Senator and the President She Wants to Unseat Are Determined to Have Their Way, Regardless of What the Law Says for 07/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/19/harris-and-trump-unite-to-defend-the-imperial-presidency-the-senator-and-the-president-she-wants-to-unseat-are-determined-to-have-their-way-regardless-of-what-the-law-says Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When Congress declined to allocate the money he wanted for a wall along the southern border, Donald Trump refused to take no for an answer. Kamala Harris, one of the Democrats vying to oppose Trump in next year's presidential election, likewise vows that if Congress does not change federal gun laws, she will do it by "executive action."</p> <p>The president and the California senator are both unwilling to let a recalcitrant legislature stop them from keeping their campaign promises, and supporters who share their goals may be inclined to cheer them on, even while faulting the other side for disregarding the rule of law and the constitutional separation of powers. <span class="column--highlighted-text">That double standard is useful in the short run but disastrous in the long run, enhancing the imperial presidency in ways that members of both major parties will come to regret.</span><p>Updated: Wed Jul 03, 2019</p> 7c2cfb06074b99b835f5f22f781f899e Democrats Reveal Their Hostility to the Second Amendment: Most of the Party's Presidential Contenders Show Little or No Concern for the Right to Armed Self-Defense for 06/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/19/democrats-reveal-their-hostility-to-the-second-amendment-most-of-the-partys-presidential-contenders-show-little-or-no-concern-for-the-right-to-armed-self-defense Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The New York Times recently asked 21 Democratic presidential contenders a question about firearms, and none of them advocated gun control. Instead, they called for "commonsense gun safety," a euphemism that reflects a general caginess about how far they would go in restricting the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.</p> <p>"In an ideal world," the Times asked, "would anyone own handguns?" Many of the answers reinforce the impression that the Democratic Party is increasingly hostile to the Second Amendment.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 26, 2019</p> 6d19c2acdcc61fa2f0aa99baba28f769 Rampant Criminal Laws Make Bullies and Tyrants Rejoice: When 'Almost Anyone Can Be Arrested for Something,' No One Is Safe for 06/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/19/rampant-criminal-laws-make-bullies-and-tyrants-rejoice-when-almost-anyone-can-be-arrested-for-something-no-one-is-safe Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Almost anyone can be arrested for something," Justice Neil Gorsuch observed in a case the Supreme Court decided last month. Mike Chase, a lawyer who has been cataloging federal offenses on his @CrimeADay Twitter feed for five years, likewise notes that "the specter of criminal liability hangs over all of us all the time."</p> <p>Chase's new book, "How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender," is a work of humor. But he is making the same disconcerting point as Gorsuch: When statutes authorizing criminal penalties are so numerous, obscure, complicated, broad and vague that no one can say for sure what the law requires, the average citizen despairs, while bullies and tyrants rejoice. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 19, 2019</p> 6a053797512306a66c59b6cff357cc06 The Costs of Monitoring Your Prescriptions: State Databases That Track Our Medications Invade Privacy Without Reducing Opioid-Related Deaths for 06/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/19/the-costs-of-monitoring-your-prescriptions-state-databases-that-track-our-medications-invade-privacy-without-reducing-opioid-related-deaths Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Prescription drug monitoring programs do not seem to be very effective at preventing abuse of opioids or other controlled substances. Yet <span class="column--highlighted-text">PDMPs amount to a massive invasion of patient privacy, inviting unconstrained government snooping that violates our Fourth Amendment rights</span>.</p> <p>The number of states with PDMPs tripled between 2001 and 2012, from 16 to 49. These programs are aimed mainly at reducing deaths involving prescription analgesics by preventing "doctor shopping," the practice of obtaining multiple prescriptions from different physicians and filling them at different pharmacies.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 12, 2019</p> 52d44b732a5939d2187eeefbc662a0c6 Mass Shooting Delusions: 'We Must Act Now' Is Not a Gun Control Policy, Let Alone an Argument for 06/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/19/mass-shooting-delusions-we-must-act-now-is-not-a-gun-control-policy-let-alone-an-argument Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you are the sort of person who feels compelled to demand new gun control laws after a mass shooting, you have several options. You can keep your recommendations vague, letting your audience fill in the blanks; push the policies you always push, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the latest outrage; or latch onto a detail of that crime, inflating its importance to support a seemingly germane solution.</p> <p>All three of those strategies were on display after a gunman murdered 12 people at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday. None of them reflected well on the persuasive powers of leading gun control advocates, who long ago abandoned logic in favor of emotional appeals and moral posturing.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 05, 2019</p> 6a5d2159aa68e683b4c1a0566212bfa1 Double Standards Endanger Press Freedom: The Treatment of Bryan Carmody and Julian Assange Reveals Widespread Confusion About Who Counts As a Journalist and Whether It Matters for 05/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/19/double-standards-endanger-press-freedom-the-treatment-of-bryan-carmody-and-julian-assange-reveals-widespread-confusion-about-who-counts-as-a-journalist-and-whether-it-matters Wed, 29 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The day after the federal government indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 18 charges related to his publication of secret Pentagon and State Department documents, San Francisco's police chief apologized for raiding the home of freelance videographer Bryan Carmody because he had obtained a report he was not supposed to have. The two cases reveal widespread confusion about who counts as a journalist and whether it matters.</p> <p>Declaring that Assange is "no journalist," a Justice Department official assured reporters that the DOJ appreciates "the role of journalists in our democracy," saying "it is not and has never been the department's policy to target them for reporting." Yet almost all of the federal felonies described in the Assange indictment involve obtaining and disclosing "national defense information" &#8212; crimes that reporters who cover national security routinely commit.<p>Updated: Wed May 29, 2019</p> 84e8c56461822bfa85558061d5190753 Justin Amash Is Right About Impeachable Conduct: The Grounds for Removing a President Extend Beyond Statutory Violations That Could Be Proven in a Criminal Trial for 05/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/19/justin-amash-is-right-about-impeachable-conduct-the-grounds-for-removing-a-president-extend-beyond-statutory-violations-that-could-be-proven-in-a-criminal-trial Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Rep. Justin Amash thinks Donald Trump is guilty of "impeachable conduct," and he is absolutely right. Impeachable conduct is whatever the House of Representatives decides it is, a point the president's defenders and some of his critics seem determined to obscure.</p> <p>The House impeached Bill Clinton for lying under oath about oral sex, and the conduct described in special counsel Robert Mueller's report is more troubling and consequential, even if it does not amount to a crime that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. When Amash, a five-term Michigan congressman, became the first Republican legislator to make that point, the reaction revealed how determined his colleagues are to evade their responsibilities.<p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> 24c191f28a4278980ce38a699632e5a9 Trump's Malignant Mercantilism: President's Double-Talk About Tariffs Reflects His Economically Ignorant Conviction That Exports Are Good and Imports Are Bad for 05/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/19/trumps-malignant-mercantilism-presidents-double-talk-about-tariffs-reflects-his-economically-ignorant-conviction-that-exports-are-good-and-imports-are-bad Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, understands that tariffs on Chinese imports are a tax paid by American companies and consumers &#8212; a point his boss refuses to acknowledge. The president's weird insistence that "China" pays the tariffs reflects not just his reluctance to take responsibility for tax increases but his longstanding, sincere and fundamentally mistaken views on international trade &#8212; views that do not bode well for the outcome of his trade war.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">"Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products," Trump tweeted on Friday. As Kudlow conceded in a Fox News interview on Sunday, that is not how tariffs work.</span> U.S. importers pay the tariffs, and they respond by reducing their profit margins, raising prices or both.<p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> 55c9bcbe9aea19f51fc81d9603290c72 What's Wrong With Licensing Gun Owners? Cory Booker's Plan Would Unjustly Deprive Peaceful Americans of the Fundamental Right to Armed Self-Defense for 05/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/19/whats-wrong-with-licensing-gun-owners-cory-bookers-plan-would-unjustly-deprive-peaceful-americans-of-the-fundamental-right-to-armed-self-defense Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Cory Booker says the gun control ideas he unveiled on Monday are necessary "to make justice a reality for all." But the New Jersey senator's plan, which he touts as "the most sweeping gun violence prevention proposal ever advanced by a presidential candidate," would unjustly deprive peaceful Americans of the fundamental right to armed self-defense.</p> <p>At the center of Booker's plan is a federal licensing system that would require would-be gun owners to "submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course" before they could exercise their Second Amendment rights. The process also would include a "comprehensive background check" by the FBI to make sure the applicant is legally allowed to possess firearms.<p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p> 9a6b2cd8b6a0aff5265dd013a534d9d1 Can Damage Done by CDC's Opioid Guidelines Be Reversed? Agency's Acknowledgment of Suffering Caused by Its Prescribing Advice May Be Too Little, Too Late for 05/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/19/can-damage-done-by-cdcs-opioid-guidelines-be-reversed-agencys-acknowledgment-of-suffering-caused-by-its-prescribing-advice-may-be-too-little-too-late Wed, 01 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its opioid prescribing guidelines in 2016, the American Medical Association worried about "unintended consequences," including "the potential effects of strict dosage and duration limits on patient care." Since then, those consequences, including needless suffering, despair and suicides caused by involuntary dose reductions and patient abandonment, have become painfully clear, as the authors of the guidelines finally acknowledged last week.</p> <p>Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the guidelines' authors said their advice has been "misimplemented." <span class="column--highlighted-text">But they took no responsibility for the unintended yet foreseeable results of their recommendations, and their warning may be too little, too late for the innocent victims of the government's cruelly misguided fight against opioid-related deaths, the vast majority of which involve illicit drugs rather than prescription analgesics.</span><p>Updated: Wed May 01, 2019</p> 46a94ca397038c30173bbfe2b3642359 Trump Is a Victim of His Own Dishonesty: Lying Is Not the Best Strategy When You're Trying to Convince People You're Telling the Truth for 04/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/19/trump-is-a-victim-of-his-own-dishonesty-lying-is-not-the-best-strategy-when-youre-trying-to-convince-people-youre-telling-the-truth Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For two years, Donald Trump told us the truth over and over again: Neither he nor his presidential campaign illegally conspired with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. But Trump also lied to us over and over again, which cast doubt on his assertions of innocence.</p> <p>I was never much impressed by the evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia, an allegation that was conclusively debunked by special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which was released by the Justice Department last Thursday. The one thing that made me think there might be something to the conspiracy theory was the fact that Trump kept denying it.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 24, 2019</p> e3598dea638eccf880bf6dadb2fbe23d The Assange Exception to the First Amendment: Freedom of the Press Is Not Limited to 'Legitimate Journalists' for 04/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/19/the-assange-exception-to-the-first-amendment-freedom-of-the-press-is-not-limited-to-legitimate-journalists Wed, 17 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The debate about whether Julian Assange should be considered a journalist, reignited by the WikiLeaks founder's arrest in London last week, gives employees of news and opinion outlets ample opportunity to display their high self-regard and contempt for amateurs who fall short of their lofty standards. But the question is constitutionally irrelevant, because freedom of the press belongs to all of us, no matter where we work or what the journalistic establishment thinks of us.</p> <p>The same goes for the limits to freedom of the press. The right to use media of mass communication does not give a journalist, no matter how public-spirited or well-respected, permission to burglarize someone's home or office in search of newsworthy information.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 17, 2019</p> 0eb97ccbabab030f2325c57fd42d5552 NRA Is Right About Violence Against Women Act: The House Version of the Reauthorization Bill Includes New Gun Restrictions That Sweep Too Broadly for 04/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/19/nra-is-right-about-violence-against-women-act-the-house-version-of-the-reauthorization-bill-includes-new-gun-restrictions-that-sweep-too-broadly Wed, 10 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>After the National Rifle Association urged legislators to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that the House approved last week, Amy Klobuchar said the organization had shown its true colors. The Minnesota senator, who is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, claimed the NRA's position "shows where they are when it comes to safety and when it comes to protecting women." </p> <p>The NRA, in other words, does not care about violence against women, or at least, it does not care enough to accept the new gun control provisions in the House version of the bill. This blithe dismissal of the NRA's legitimate complaints about those provisions makes Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, sound like an authoritarian demagogue who equates concern about civil liberties with indifference to crime.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 10, 2019</p> 9457d3610b91c1d64f02632ab355c560 Gravity Knives, Bump Stocks and Lawless Law Enforcement: New York Cops and the President Arbitrarily Turn Legal Products Into Contraband for 04/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/19/gravity-knives-bump-stocks-and-lawless-law-enforcement-new-york-cops-and-the-president-arbitrarily-turn-legal-products-into-contraband Wed, 03 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When Joseph Cracco bought his folding knife about a decade ago, he had no reason to think he was breaking the law. Nor did Damien Guedes when he bought a bump stock for his AR-15 rifle in 2014.</p> <p>Both products were subsequently transformed into contraband &#8212; not by legislators but by law enforcement officials. The way that happened shows how easily policies aimed at promoting public safety can make all of us less secure by undermining the rule of law.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 03, 2019</p> 334c6a9e4669290f0d92410ec4977ae7 Trump's Hotheadedness Was His Saving Vice: The President's Lack of Self-Restraint Helped Protect Him From Impeachment for 03/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/19/trumps-hotheadedness-was-his-saving-vice-the-presidents-lack-of-self-restraint-helped-protect-him-from-impeachment Wed, 27 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump says what he thinks. Depending on your perspective, this quality is either refreshing or reckless. But it proved helpful in fending off charges that he obstructed justice or conspired with Russians to violate federal law.</p> <p>Obstruction and conspiracy are supposed to happen in the shadows. Yet, as Attorney General William Barr noted on Sunday in his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, many of the actions that Trump's critics have cited as evidence of his criminality happened in broad daylight.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 27, 2019</p> e643b254b5f50f4e1e62d59668b47f31 Congress Grows a Spine: Thank Donald Trump for the Belated Attempt to Enforce the Constitution's Separation of Powers for 03/20/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/19/congress-grows-a-spine-thank-donald-trump-for-the-belated-attempt-to-enforce-the-constitutions-separation-of-powers Wed, 20 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The War Powers Resolution, which Congress passed in 1973, and the National Emergencies Act, which it approved three years later, were both intended to curb presidential power grabs. But until last week, Congress had never used them for that purpose. We can thank Donald Trump for this belated attempt to enforce the Constitution's separation of powers.</p> <p>Trump is hardly the first president to use the military however he likes without bothering to ask permission from Congress, which has the constitutional power to declare war. U.S. participation in the Saudi campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, the target of last week's War Powers Act vote, may be appalling on humanitarian grounds, but it is less direct than the bombs and missiles that Barack Obama deployed against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 20, 2019</p> 617a1ef9d802562e5abc260b6a0b36fe It's All About the Ad Hominems, Baby: Anti-Semitism Aside, Ilhan Omar's Comments About Israel Illustrate a Pernicious, Bipartisan Tendency to Attack Motives Instead of Arguments for 03/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/19/its-all-about-the-ad-hominems-baby-anti-semitism-aside-ilhan-omars-comments-about-israel-illustrate-a-pernicious-bipartisan-tendency-to-attack-motives-instead-of-arguments Wed, 13 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Ilhan Omar says she did not realize her statements about Israel could be construed as anti-Semitic. Maybe we should take the Minnesota congresswoman at her word &#8212; except that she is manifestly unwilling to give people who disagree with her the same courtesy.</p> <p>Omar's comments, which last week yielded a broad, anodyne House resolution against bigotry that satisfied no one, evoked a trifecta of anti-Jewish stereotypes. <span class="column--highlighted-text">But they also embodied a bipartisan tendency to question people's motives rather than rebut their arguments, a tactic that is poisonous to civil and rational debate.</span><p>Updated: Wed Mar 13, 2019</p> 7f631a111c80bb20c916179172aba530 Relief for Victims of Pot Prohibition: Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act Highlights Moral Imperative of Automatic Expungement for 03/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/19/relief-for-victims-of-pot-prohibition-cory-bookers-marijuana-justice-act-highlights-moral-imperative-of-automatic-expungement Wed, 06 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act, which he reintroduced last week, would rehabilitate the much-maligned plant by removing it from the federal government's list of proscribed substances. The New Jersey senator's bill also aims to rehabilitate the victims of that arbitrary ban, and in that respect, it departs from most of the legalization measures that have been passed by states or proposed by members of Congress.</p> <p>By and large, the lingering impact of laws that criminalized peaceful activities involving cannabis has been addressed as an afterthought, if at all. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Booker's bill, which he has made a conspicuous part of his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, therefore does a real service by raising the issue of what the government owes to people who were convicted of doing things that are no longer crimes.</span><p>Updated: Wed Mar 06, 2019</p> 1ed8227487d8d917cf3265a109689851 Can a Giant Christian Cross Be Secular?: Challenge to Maryland WWI Memorial Illustrates Confusion Caused by Supreme Court's Establishment Clause Cases for 02/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/02/19/can-a-giant-christian-cross-be-secular-challenge-to-maryland-wwi-memorial-illustrates-confusion-caused-by-supreme-courts-establishment-clause-cases Wed, 27 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Let's talk about the constitutional significance of bushes at the foot of the 40-foot-high, 16-ton concrete Latin cross that sits in the middle of a busy highway intersection at the entrance to Bladensburg, Maryland. Or maybe let's not.</p> <p>This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether that monument, which was erected nearly a century ago in honor of 49 local men who died in World War I, amounts to an "establishment of religion" prohibited by the First Amendment. The case shows how confused and confusing the court's jurisprudence in this area has become.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 27, 2019</p>