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  • The Constitution: Model, Resource, or Outlier?

    The United States Constitution is the oldest written constitution still in use. A little more than 225 years ago, there was a meeting of the greatest political minds that had ever been assembled. Each American colony sent its brightest citizens to revise the failing Articles of Confederation. The Framers of … More

    Senator Rand Paul Gets It Right on Overcriminalization

    Apparently, Members of Congress have not been reading our Overcriminalization blogs. How do we know this? Because the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act (IFSEA) is the embodiment of much of what our blogs have highlighted is wrong with legislation. The Senate sponsors of IFSEA didn’t have the votes to … More

    INTERVIEW: Heritage's Robert Alt on Overcriminalization

    Robert Alt is director of the Rule of Law Programs and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. He sat down with us to discuss Heritage’s Overcriminalization project. Q: How long have you been working on the Overcriminalization project? A: Five years. Overcriminalization was … More

    Progressives Want to Send Innocent People to Jail…to Set an Example?

    Should society throw people into jail who admittedly did nothing blameworthy just to set an example for others? That is exactly what the Center for Progressive Reform has suggested doing in a recent report on the Occupational Safety and Health Act. In criminal law, the Supreme Court has embraced what … More

    Government Agencies Using Criminal Law for Self-Promotion

    In a prior Foundry post, we highlighted the egregious misconduct of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Legal Enforcement in the prosecution of marine biologist Nancy Black. NOAA is criminally prosecuting her for bogus charges, including lying to investigators and feeding whales. These charges could land Black … More

    Save the Whales NOAA

    Nancy Black is a marine biologist who has dedicated her life to the preservation and study of whales. National Geographic and PBS have featured her work. Yet, the federal government is now prosecuting her—persecuting her would not be too strong a term—for her efforts to learn more about whales. Why? … More

    Is Dropping a Banana Peel a Crime?

    Can a person be convicted of a felony for ordinary negligence? Surprisingly, yes. Today there are a number of statutes and regulations that make ordinary negligence not only a crime but a felony. Negligence is a concept most often used in civil law. Ordinary negligence occurs when a person owes … More

    DOJ Bullies Gibson into Submission: Will Congress Allow This to Happen Again?

    The Heritage Foundation has been writing about the problems that Gibson Guitar has faced for a long while now. Sadly, Gibson has bowed out of the fight due to bullying by Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors. Gibson has been strong-armed into paying a $300,000 fine and a $50,000 community service … More

    When It Rains in Oregon, the State Owns the Raindrops

    Who owns the rain? That sounds like a silly question, but the answer may surprise you. If you live in Oregon, Oregon does. So what does that mean in practice? Well, if you live in Oregon and dig a pond on your own property without a license, and the pond … More

    Inappropriate for Appropriations Bills (and Other Bills, Too)

    This session, Congress has consistently increased criminal penalties through legislation. In what type of bills are they doing it? In appropriations bills, of course. Where else would Congress increase criminal penalties? For example, in the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, the maximum penalties for violation of Arms … More