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down on the status quo, Republicans are calling for a bipartisan commission to review the federal criminal code for outdated or obsolete criminal offenses, as well as demanding reform to ensure that existing laws have adequate criminal intent requirements.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 ...

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