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 Mon, 27 May 2019 05:54:54 -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 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> 5f12ff6e003c236f672ec9b5420b1eb1 Trump's Phony-Yet-Legal Border Emergency: Congress Seems to Have Authorized This End Run Around Its Spending Power. Can It Do That? for 02/20/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/02/19/trumps-phony-yet-legal-border-emergency-congress-seems-to-have-authorized-this-end-run-around-its-spending-power-can-it-do-that Wed, 20 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Members of Congress who are dismayed by Donald Trump's invocation of emergency powers to build his border wall are like the dog owner who leaves the gate open and is then surprised to find his labradoodle bounding around the neighborhood. He might have hoped the dog would stay in the yard without external restraint, but that wasn't a reasonable expectation.</p> <p>A lawsuit filed by California and 15 other states on Monday argues that there is "no objective basis for President Trump's Emergency Declaration" and that "by the president's own admission, an emergency declaration is not necessary." Even while declaring a border-related national emergency on Friday, the complaint notes, Trump conceded that he "didn't need to do this," as "I could do the wall over a longer period of time." But he added that he'd "rather do it much faster."<p>Updated: Wed Feb 20, 2019</p> 2515bbe5fb935c05df109fb5b983416a One Cheer for Kamala's Cannabis Candor: The Presidential Contender Is a Johnny-Come-Lately on Legalization, but She Is Right About the Importance of Fun for 02/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/02/19/one-cheer-for-kamalas-cannabis-candor-the-presidential-contender-is-a-johnny-come-lately-on-legalization-but-she-is-right-about-the-importance-of-fun Wed, 13 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>How much credit should a politician get in 2019 for admitting that she smoked pot in college? Not much, especially if she only recently came around to the view that people should not be arrested for doing what she did.</p> <p>But Kamala Harris did say something noteworthy when she was asked about marijuana during a radio interview on Monday. She acknowledged the importance of fun, a point that should be made more often in discussions of drug policy.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 13, 2019</p> 386dec084d7823050c05c0bd5edee23c One Deadly Drug Raid, Two Red Herrings: Neither Gun Control nor Uncritical Support of the Police Can Stop Violence Required by War on Drugs for 02/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/02/19/one-deadly-drug-raid-two-red-herrings-neither-gun-control-nor-uncritical-support-of-the-police-can-stop-violence-required-by-war-on-drugs Wed, 06 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>After a drug raid killed a middle-aged couple and injured five narcotics officers in Houston last week, the head of the local police union blamed people who criticize cops, while the police chief blamed politicians who fail to support the gun control policies he favors. The real cause was a fundamentally immoral war on drugs that routinely requires violence in response to peaceful activities.</p> <p>Hours after the deadly attack on the home of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, Joe Gamaldi, the president of the Houston Police Officers Union, condemned "the ones that are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy." He warned that "we're going to be keeping track of all y'all," and "we're gonna make sure that we hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers."<p>Updated: Wed Feb 06, 2019</p> 05e6afc25d78c51ccfe523e6b445f07a Have Gun, Can't Travel: New York City's Arbitrary Restrictions on Transporting Firearms Give SCOTUS Chance to Curtail Rampant Disrespect for the Second Amendment for 01/30/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/01/19/have-gun-cant-travel-new-york-citys-arbitrary-restrictions-on-transporting-firearms-give-scotus-chance-to-curtail-rampant-disrespect-for-the-second-amendment Wed, 30 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The first time the Supreme Court defended the Second Amendment, it overturned a Washington, D.C., law that made it a crime to keep any sort of accessible and operable firearm in the home for self-defense. Two years later, the court struck down a Chicago law that went almost as far, banning possession of handguns within the city limits.</p> <p>Last week, the court accepted a case involving another extreme example of gun control: a law that prohibits New Yorkers from taking their legally owned handguns with them when they travel outside the city. This is only the third time in more than a decade that the justices have grappled with the question of which firearm restrictions are consistent with the Second Amendment, and the history of the case shows why that reckoning is overdue.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 30, 2019</p> a668668cb52376c12e7fdbb968eb3e5b Why Wilbur Ross' Census Lies Matter: Commerce Secretary's Phony Rationale for Adding a Citizenship Question Is Inconsistent With Rule of Law for 01/23/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/01/19/why-wilbur-ross-census-lies-matter-commerce-secretarys-phony-rationale-for-adding-a-citizenship-question-is-inconsistent-with-rule-of-law Wed, 23 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In an age when the president prevaricates promiscuously or his opponents will say almost anything to make him look bad (take your pick), it is tempting to conclude that public officials can lie with impunity. But that is not always the case, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discovered when he tried to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census.</p> <p>Last week, a federal judge in New York ruled that Ross, whose department includes the U.S. Census Bureau, "violated the law" and "violated the public trust" in "multiple independent ways" when he decided to change the census form &#8212; most egregiously, by offering a phony rationale he invented after he had made the decision. As U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman's 277-page decision shows in head-shaking detail, that kind of dishonesty poses a clear threat to the rule of law.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 23, 2019</p> 6aa5f6d10550fdafde5890f98ddf395e The Whimsical Illogic of 'Assault Weapon' Bans: The Category Is Defined by Politicians, Who Focus on Looks Rather Than Function for 01/16/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/01/19/the-whimsical-illogic-of-assault-weapon-bans-the-category-is-defined-by-politicians-who-focus-on-looks-rather-than-function Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Since 1996, Gallup has been asking Americans whether they support a ban on "assault weapons." Gallup has never explained what "assault weapons" are, and there's a good reason for that: The category is defined by politicians, so its meaning is arbitrary, mutable and illogical.</p> <p>Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who wrote the federal "assault weapon" ban that was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004, introduced her latest attempt to reinstate and expand it. Her bill bans "205 military-style assault weapons" by name, along with any rifle that "accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics," such as "a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 16, 2019</p> 64d15409682e9e80a96fc206058cd617 Are Boycotts Protected by the First Amendment? Only If You Like the Cause They Serve, According to Supporters of Laws That Target the Anti-Israel BDS Movement for 01/09/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/01/19/are-boycotts-protected-by-the-first-amendment-only-if-you-like-the-cause-they-serve-according-to-supporters-of-laws-that-target-the-anti-israel-bds-movement Wed, 09 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I am not one of those people who keep track of the policies, positions and practices of every business they deal with, lest they inadvertently lend support to a cause they abhor or undermine one they embrace. Still, I recognize that consumers who invest time and energy in that sort of discrimination see it as an important reflection of their moral values, which, to my mind, makes it an expressive activity that should be protected by the First Amendment.</p> <p>The U.S. Supreme Court agrees &#8212; up to a point. But as the debate over laws targeting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement illustrates, it's not clear where that point is.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 09, 2019</p>