The Corner

Re: Drunk With Power

I’m coming a day late to Andrew’s post about the new Illinois law imposing up to three years in jail for throwing cigarette butts on the ground. I don’t have much to add except this: For an allegedly compassionate blue state, Illinois has just passed an unbelievably punitive law aimed directly at the poor. Poor and working-class Americans are far more likely to smoke than the wealthy, urban liberals who constitute the Democratic policy-making elite. Are harsh criminal penalties for petty littering the best way to facilitate upward mobility or just another way to trap our fellow citizens — saddled with criminal records for no good reason — in a lifetime of dependency?

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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