Bench Memos

Comparing the Party Platforms on Overcriminalization Reform

Last week Fox News ran my op-ed entitled “Why Democrats aren’t serious about overcriminalization,” in which I compare the two major parties’ platforms on overcriminalization reform. Two excerpts:

Let’s start with the Democratic platform, which focuses mainly on issues that apply to all criminals. . . . Their platform says nothing about the average American who accidentally stumbles over an arcane regulatory tripwire, makes a simple mistake of fact, or commits the “crime” of holding an unlicensed croquet game in a national park.

And on the other side:

The Republican platform, by contrast, is balanced and serious. It criticizes Congress’s “recklessness” in expanding the criminal law without restraint and denounces as “intolerable” the practice of letting unelected bureaucrats define new crimes. Instead of doubling down on the status quo, Republicans are calling for a bipartisan commission to review the federal criminal code for outdated or obsolete criminal offenses, as well as demanding reform to ensure that existing laws have adequate criminal intent requirements.

You can read the whole thing here.

(And in case you’re wondering, the third- and fourth-place party platforms don’t address the issue squarely.)


Jonathan Keim — Jonathan Keim is Counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Princeton University, an experienced litigator, and ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Second(-Class) Amendment

Editor’s Note: The following is the fourth in a series of articles in which Mr. Yoo and Mr. Phillips will lay out a course of constitutional restoration, pointing out areas where the Supreme Court has driven the Constitution off its rails and the ways the current Court can put it back on track. The first entry ... Read More

The Brexit Crisis

After what seem like years of a phony war, British and European Union negotiators finally agreed on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU earlier this week, and Theresa May announced it in the House of Commons. The deal covers more than 500 pages of legal and bureaucratic prose, and few but the ... Read More

Friends of Elmer

Do you know what scares an American outdoorsman more than a grizzly bear? Twitter. In the late summer and early autumn, the hunting world had its eyes on the courts: The Trump administration had issued new guidance that would permit the hunting of brown bears (popularly known as grizzly bears), including in ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Basta La Vista, Baby

Dear Reader (And especially Martha McSally’s dog), As I often note, I increasingly tend to see the political scene as a scripted reality show in which the writers don’t flesh out the dialogue so much as move characters into weird, wacky, confrontational, or embarrassing positions. It’s a lot like The ... Read More