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 Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:15:34 -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 bae7b166fdd38154d40e40a8c7804910 Chicago Residents Wait Months for Permission to Defend Themselves: Despite an Alarming Increase in Crime, Illinois Is Illegally Delaying Gun Licenses for 08/12/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/08/20/chicago-residents-wait-months-for-permission-to-defend-themselves-despite-an-alarming-increase-in-crime-illinois-is-illegally-delaying-gun-licenses Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you live in Chicago, you might be thinking about buying a gun to protect yourself, your family, your home or your business against rioters, looters and assorted violent criminals. But before you can exercise your Second Amendment rights in Illinois, you need permission from the state police, a process that can take months.</p> <p>Contrary to a state law that requires approval or denial of an application for a firearm owner's identification card within 30 days, Illinois residents often wait two or three times as long. Such delays are plainly unconstitutional, according to a federal lawsuit filed last month by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of four Chicago area residents and two gun rights groups. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 12, 2020</p> fcb2dcbfa0b81aac348117a929ae88fd Trump's Naked Megalomania Continues a Bipartisan Trend: Will His Blunt Self-Aggrandizement Reinvigorate Concerns About Presidents Who Exceed Their Powers? for 08/05/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/08/20/trumps-naked-megalomania-continues-a-bipartisan-trend-will-his-blunt-self-aggrandizement-reinvigorate-concerns-about-presidents-who-exceed-their-powers Wed, 05 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>After Donald Trump floated the idea of delaying the presidential election last week, the most striking response came from Federalist Society co-founder Steven Calabresi. "This latest tweet is fascistic," the Northwestern University law professor wrote in The New York Times, "and is itself grounds for the president's immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate."</p> <p>For Calabresi, who opposed Trump's impeachment for pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden, the president's suggestion that the election should be rescheduled was a tweet too far. Whether or not you agree, the bipartisan rejection of Trump's suggestion is a hopeful sign that his blunt self-aggrandizement has reinvigorated concerns about presidents who claim powers they were never granted &#8212; a problem that extends far beyond this particular president or his party.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 05, 2020</p> 81e8409cfaf46ba2eac741ec01f9864c The Second Amendment Is Not Restricted to White Conservatives: An Encounter in Louisville Shows the Enduring Practical and Symbolic Importance of the Right to Armed Self-Defense for 07/29/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/20/the-second-amendment-is-not-restricted-to-white-conservatives-an-encounter-in-louisville-shows-the-enduring-practical-and-symbolic-importance-of-the-right-to-armed-self-defense Wed, 29 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky, about 300 armed members of the NFAC (Not F&#8212;-ing Around Coalition), a self-described "Black militia" based in Atlanta, had what the Louisville Courier-Journal called "a tense standoff" with about 50 armed Three Percenters, which the paper described as a "far-right... militia." While the incident, which ended without violence, could be seen as yet another sign that the country is descending into 1968-style chaos, it was also a striking illustration of the Second Amendment's enduring practical and symbolic importance that scrambled conventional stereotypes about the right to armed self-defense.</p> <p>Since Kentucky allows open (or concealed) carrying of firearms without a permit, the two groups, both of which disavow aggression, were acting lawfully. And while their motives may look different, both are drawing on a long American tradition of wide gun ownership as a safeguard against tyranny.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 29, 2020</p> 0f53c1a056d0ed2184fa67b9334eb5ea Trump Deploys Lawlessness Against Lawlessness: The President's Heavy-Handed Reaction to Protests Against Police Brutality Belies His Promise of 'Law and Order' for 07/22/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/20/trump-deploys-lawlessness-against-lawlessness-the-presidents-heavy-handed-reaction-to-protests-against-police-brutality-belies-his-promise-of-law-and-order Wed, 22 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign was consciously modeled after Richard Nixon's 1968 run, seems to think he can win reelection by emulating his predecessor's appeal to a "silent majority" disgusted by raucous anti-war protests. Trump is offering voters a choice between his firm hand and the pusillanimity of "liberal Democrats" who let "violent anarchists" run wild in the streets.</p> <p>Notwithstanding Trump's pose as "your president of law and order," his heavy-handed reaction to the protests triggered by George Floyd's death represents neither. In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, including arbitrary arrests and the disproportionate, indiscriminate use of force.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 22, 2020</p> 53a73b36fad1e3f9889e6c4129ed7d40 Betraying Trump, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch Stay Loyal to the Law: Two Centuries of Precedents Say the President Is Not Immune From Judicial Process for 07/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/20/betraying-trump-kavanaugh-and-gorsuch-stay-loyal-to-the-law-two-centuries-of-precedents-say-the-president-is-not-immune-from-judicial-process Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Two years ago, while fighting the confirmation of Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested that Brett Kavanaugh would help the president escape accountability for grave misconduct. "If Kavanaugh would've let Nixon off the hook," Schumer asked, "what is he willing to do for President Trump?"</p> <p>Schumer was mischaracterizing Kavanaugh's view of United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal subpoena seeking White House tapes and documents as part of the Watergate investigation. Schumer's prediction was also wrong, as Kavanaugh showed last week in Trump v. Vance, another resounding victory for the rule of law. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 15, 2020</p> 98416f1342257e320dacd08439621994 Qualified Immunity Is a Test for Conservatives: The Judicially Invented License for Police Abuse Undermines the Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers for 07/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/20/qualified-immunity-is-a-test-for-conservatives-the-judicially-invented-license-for-police-abuse-undermines-the-rule-of-law-and-the-separation-of-powers Wed, 08 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for kneeling on George Floyd's neck until he stopped breathing. But even if Chauvin is convicted, Floyd's family may not be able to pursue claims under a federal statute that authorizes lawsuits against government officials who violate people's constitutional rights.</p> <p>The uncertain prospects for the lawsuit Floyd's relatives plan to file underlines the unjust and irrational consequences of qualified immunity, a doctrine that shields police from liability for outrageous conduct when the rights they violated were not "clearly established" at the time. Congress should seize the opportunity created by Floyd's May 25 death and the nationwide protests it provoked to abolish that doctrine, which the Supreme Court unlawfully grafted onto the Civil Rights Act of 1871.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 08, 2020</p> 3d8f8202b85b01ec7c656b3e29a43c86 Don't Let the Pandemic Kill Religious Freedom: COVID-19 Control Measures Violate the First Amendment When They Arbitrarily Favor Secular Conduct for 07/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/20/dont-let-the-pandemic-kill-religious-freedom-covid-19-control-measures-violate-the-first-amendment-when-they-arbitrarily-favor-secular-conduct Wed, 01 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>About a month after Bill de Blasio personally led a police raid on a Hasidic rabbi's funeral in Brooklyn, which he portrayed as an intolerable threat in the era of COVID-19, New York's mayor visited the same borough to address a tightly packed crowd of protesters who had gathered in response to George Floyd's death. Far from ordering them to disperse in the name of public health, the unmasked mayor enthusiastically expressed solidarity with the demonstrators.</p> <p>The contrast between de Blasio's anger at Jewish mourners and his solicitude toward political protesters figures prominently in last Friday's decision by a federal judge who deemed New York's pandemic-inspired restrictions on religious gatherings unconstitutional. The ruling, which said COVID-19 control measures violate the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom when they draw arbitrary distinctions between religious and secular conduct, is a warning to politicians across the country as they loosen the sweeping restrictions they imposed in the name of flattening the curve.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 01, 2020</p> 7dae327a692c03b08e56f6920f64c048 Breonna Taylor and the Moral Bankruptcy of Drug Prohibition: She Would Still Be Alive If Politicians Did Not Insist on Using Violence to Enforce Their Pharmacological Prejudices for 06/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/20/breonna-taylor-and-the-moral-bankruptcy-of-drug-prohibition-she-would-still-be-alive-if-politicians-did-not-insist-on-using-violence-to-enforce-their-pharmacological-prejudices Wed, 24 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last Friday, three months after Louisville, Kentucky, police officers gunned down a 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse named Breonna Taylor during a fruitless drug raid, acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder initiated the termination of Detective Brett Hankison, who he said had "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds" into Taylor's apartment. But Hankison's recklessness is just one element of the circumstances that led to Taylor's senseless death, which never would have happened if politicians did not insist on using violence to enforce their pharmacological prejudices.</p> <p>The March 13 shooting, which has figured prominently in recent protests against police brutality, followed a sadly familiar pattern. Hankison and two other plainclothes officers broke into Taylor's home around 12:40 a.m., awakening her and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who mistook the armed invaders for robbers.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 24, 2020</p> 62e201f3d00d21ca737fde0e4ed9b545 Racially Skewed Policing Is Not a Statistical Mirage: One Need Not Believe Every Cop Is a Bigot to Recognize That the Problem Goes Beyond a Few 'Bad Apples' for 06/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/20/racially-skewed-policing-is-not-a-statistical-mirage-one-need-not-believe-every-cop-is-a-bigot-to-recognize-that-the-problem-goes-beyond-a-few-bad-apples Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Many conservatives condemn the excessive force that killed George Floyd but reject the notion that such abuses reflect a broader problem of racial bias. "I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist," says Attorney General William Barr, whose boss argues that the crimes of a few "bad apples" do not justify "falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist."</p> <p>Fair enough. But it is a serious mistake to dismiss stark, widely documented racial disparities in policing as a statistical mirage with no implications for equality under the law.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 17, 2020</p> 99ad87719006b72d60a255f739255dfe Maybe Cops Should Be 'Pulling Back': Abolishing Qualified Immunity Is a Crucial Step in Holding Police Accountable for Violating Our Rights for 06/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/20/maybe-cops-should-be-pulling-back-abolishing-qualified-immunity-is-a-crucial-step-in-holding-police-accountable-for-violating-our-rights Wed, 10 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Attorney General William Barr worries that making it easier to sue cops for abusing their powers "would result certainly in police pulling back." White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calls the idea a "nonstarter." </p> <p>Americans who have watched the horrifying video showing now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while ignoring the prone, handcuffed man's desperate pleas, past the point where he stopped moving and no longer had a detectable pulse, might reasonably conclude that some "pulling back" by police is exactly what we need. And once Americans understand the legally reinforced culture of impunity that encourages such abuses, they might view the reform peremptorily rejected by McEnany as a good start rather than a nonstarter.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 10, 2020</p> 8a40600e93f87ec9407d41d3e4e2d79e It's Hard to Take Either Side in Trump's Twitter Spat Seriously: The President Promises Penalties He Has No Power to Impose, While the Company Promises Moderation It Cannot Deliver for 06/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/06/20/its-hard-to-take-either-side-in-trumps-twitter-spat-seriously-the-president-promises-penalties-he-has-no-power-to-impose-while-the-company-promises-moderation-it-cannot-deliver Wed, 03 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Last Thursday the president of the United States threw a temper tantrum disguised as an executive order, threatening to punish Twitter for daring to annotate two of his comments about voting by mail. Twitter retaliated the next day, slapping a warning label on a presidential tweet about the protests triggered by George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 03, 2020</p> 9b72a5047d21f99d4d0fd4bc669c2d82 A Middle Course Between COVID-19 Hopes and Fears: Control Measures Should Be Based on Emerging Evidence About the Danger Posed by the Virus for 05/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/20/a-middle-course-between-covid-19-hopes-and-fears-control-measures-should-be-based-on-emerging-evidence-about-the-danger-posed-by-the-virus Wed, 27 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Despite what many people hoped, COVID-19 is clearly worse than the seasonal flu. But despite what other people feared, it does not seem to be nearly as lethal as the "Spanish flu" of 1918, which killed about 0.7% of the total U.S. population &#8212; equivalent to more than 2 million people today.</p> <p>As we move from lockdowns to something more closely resembling normal life, the emerging evidence about the threat posed by COVID-19 should inform our judgment about which precautions make sense. The initial, ham-handed approach &#8212; which confined hundreds of millions of people to their homes except for government-approved purposes &#8212; should be replaced by more carefully targeted measures focused on protecting the people who face the highest risk.<p>Updated: Wed May 27, 2020</p> e1c3e92ef59f45956107d39448eb1323 A Pandemic Does Not Suspend the Rule of Law: Courts Are Beginning to Recognize That Public Health Powers, While Broad, Are Not a Blank Check for 05/20/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/20/a-pandemic-does-not-suspend-the-rule-of-law-courts-are-beginning-to-recognize-that-public-health-powers-while-broad-are-not-a-blank-check Wed, 20 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The recent court decisions overturning COVID-19 lockdowns in Wisconsin and Oregon focused on abstruse issues of statutory interpretation. But both cases also addressed a more fundamental question: Is the rule of law suspended during a public health emergency?</p> <p>In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials have imposed unprecedented restrictions on our liberties and livelihoods, acting on the assumption that they can do whatever they think is necessary to protect the public from a potentially deadly disease. The courts, which were initially reluctant to second-guess state responses to COVID-19, are beginning to recognize that public health powers, while broad, are not a blank check.<p>Updated: Wed May 20, 2020</p> 15518c50f6fbb436f6cb0f0f30d4f17b Will SCOTUS Revoke Its License for Police Abuse? This Week the Justices Are Considering 13 Petitions Involving the Pernicious Doctrine of Qualified Immunity for 05/13/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/20/will-scotus-revoke-its-license-for-police-abuse-this-week-the-justices-are-considering-13-petitions-involving-the-pernicious-doctrine-of-qualified-immunity Wed, 13 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Based on an erroneous report of a "domestic assault," police officers came to rescue Melanie Kelsay from the man who supposedly was attacking her at a community swimming pool in Wymore, Nebraska. Then one of them actually assaulted her, lifting the 130-pound woman off the ground in a bear hug and throwing her to the ground, breaking her collarbone and knocking her unconscious, because she disobeyed his command to "get back here."</p> <p>Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that the assault did not violate Kelsay's "clearly established" Fourth Amendment rights, meaning she could not sue the sheriff's deputy who had injured her. Kelsay's appeal of that decision is one of 13 cases involving "qualified immunity" that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider for review on Friday, giving the justices ample opportunity to revisit a misbegotten doctrine that shields police officers from liability for egregious misconduct.<p>Updated: Wed May 13, 2020</p> a06a9d8975d91aeffcc706d7cf4783e6 When Are COVID-19 Control Measures 'Arbitrary' and 'Unreasonable'? Courts So Far Have Not Been Inclined to Ask That Question for 05/06/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/05/20/when-are-covid-19-control-measures-arbitrary-and-unreasonable-courts-so-far-have-not-been-inclined-to-ask-that-question Wed, 06 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When he rejected a legal challenge to Michigan's COVID-19 lockdown last week, Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray quoted at length from Jacobson v. Massachusetts, a 1905 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld mandatory smallpox vaccination. But he left out the part where the justices said state public health powers, while broad, have limits.</p> <p>We should be discovering those limits at a time when hundreds of millions of Americans have been confined to their homes except for government-approved purposes. But with a few notable exceptions, the courts have not been inclined to scrutinize sweeping COVID-19 control measures that entail unprecedented restrictions on our liberties and livelihoods.<p>Updated: Wed May 06, 2020</p> b023f85e15b0bb2a2e233ae017b10dd9 A Virus Makes the Supreme Court More Transparent: Unprecedented Live Audio Streaming of Oral Arguments Could Signal More Openness for 04/29/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/20/a-virus-makes-the-supreme-court-more-transparent-unprecedented-live-audio-streaming-of-oral-arguments-could-signal-more-openness Wed, 29 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The case that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday morning, a trademark dispute involving the travel service Booking.com, is probably of little interest to the general public. But the manner in which the justices will hear oral arguments &#8212; via a teleconference with a live audio feed for anyone who wants to listen &#8212; is unprecedented and could represent a significant step toward the kind of transparency the Court has long resisted.</p> <p>While the official justification for the unusual arrangement is "public health guidance in response to COVID-19," <span class="column--highlighted-text">the fact that the Court decided to allow online streaming of the oral arguments in 10 sets of cases it will hear from May 4 to May 13 may signal a new openness.</span> As Gabe Roth of the advocacy group Fix the Court notes, "Supreme Court arguments (are) going live," and "all it took was a global pandemic."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 29, 2020</p> 02f6c8c9d0df82d180f003203b55b91c Shouldn't COVID-19's Lethality Inform the Response to It? Evidence That the Virus Is Much Less Deadly Than People Feared Weakens the Case for Maintaining Lockdowns for 04/22/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/20/shouldnt-covid-19s-lethality-inform-the-response-to-it-evidence-that-the-virus-is-much-less-deadly-than-people-feared-weakens-the-case-for-maintaining-lockdowns Wed, 22 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When she announced the startling results of a new COVID-19 study on Monday, Los Angeles County's top public health official emphasized that the number of infections far exceeds the official count of confirmed cases. She underplayed another important implication of the study: COVID-19 seems to be far less deadly than many people feared.</p> <p>The way Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer framed the study's results raises a question that policymakers across the country will confront as they consider when and how to loosen sweeping restrictions aimed at curtailing the COVID-19 epidemic. Will they be guided by emerging evidence, or will they use it to support the policies they already favored?<p>Updated: Wed Apr 22, 2020</p> 54535f5c7e361f999868ddad02e4dfa0 Even in a Pandemic, 'Constitutional Rights Still Exist': A Federal Judge Defends Religious Freedom by Blocking a Misguided Ban on Drive-In Easter Services for 04/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/20/even-in-a-pandemic-constitutional-rights-still-exist-a-federal-judge-defends-religious-freedom-by-blocking-a-misguided-ban-on-drive-in-easter-services Wed, 15 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The celebration of Easter this week was conspicuously constrained by government policies aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, which affected travel, family gatherings and church services throughout the country. But in an encouraging sign that the Constitution still means something in these extraordinary times, one of those policies was defeated by the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom.</p> <p>On Saturday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer, who had unilaterally banned drive-in Easter services, even when they complied with social distancing rules. "On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter," U.S. District Judge Justin Walker wrote. "The Mayor's decision is stunning. And it is, 'beyond all reason,' unconstitutional."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 15, 2020</p> dd5b61e8ebc7aa629d33208a06a251a8 How the CDC and the FDA Wrecked the Economy: The Failure to Conduct Early and Wide Testing Left Politicians Ignorant of Basic Facts About the COVID-19 Epidemic for 04/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/04/20/how-the-cdc-and-the-fda-wrecked-the-economy-the-failure-to-conduct-early-and-wide-testing-left-politicians-ignorant-of-basic-facts-about-the-covid-19-epidemic Wed, 08 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Public officials across the United States are flying blind against the COVID-19 epidemic. Because of a government-engineered testing fiasco, they do not know how fast the virus is spreading, how many people have been infected by it, how many will die as a result or how many have developed immunity to it.</p> <p>The failure to implement early and wide testing, which was caused by a combination of short-sightedness, ineptitude and bureaucratic intransigence, left politicians scrambling to avoid a hospital crisis by imposing broad business closures and stay-at-home orders. It foreclosed the possibility of a more proactive and targeted approach, focused on identifying carriers, tracing their contacts and protecting the public through isolation and quarantines.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 08, 2020</p> 5f3d2985c9e33aea38af6d56720c987d Will COVID-19 Kill the Constitution? Politicians and the Public Are Alarmingly Willing to Violate Civil Liberties in the Name of Fighting the Epidemic for 04/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/03/20/will-covid-19-kill-the-constitution-politicians-and-the-public-are-alarmingly-willing-to-violate-civil-liberties-in-the-name-of-fighting-the-epidemic Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The great American jurist St. George Tucker, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, called the right to armed self-defense "the true palladium of liberty" and "the first law of nature." But California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is optional.</p> <p>After Newsom ordered "nonessential" businesses to close in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, he let local sheriffs decide whether that category included gun dealers. Newsom's decision, which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition, illustrates how readily politicians ignore constitutional rights in the very circumstances where they matter most.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 01, 2020</p>