Politics, Moderate



Oregon's Drug Problems Were Not Caused by Decriminalization: Prohibition Is at the Root of the Hazards That Have Led to Record Numbers of Opioid-Related Deaths

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Three years ago, 58% of Oregon voters approved Measure 110, a groundbreaking ballot initiative that eliminated criminal penalties for low-level possession of illegal drugs. Last week, a group called the Coalition to Fix and Improve Ballot Measure 110 proposed two versions of an initiative aimed at reversing that reform, and recent polling ...Read more

Trump's Preposterous Defense in the Purloined Documents Case: The Former President Suggests He Was Not Obliged to Obey a Subpoena Seeking Classified Records

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

In May 2022, Donald Trump received a federal subpoena demanding all the documents with classification markings that remained in his possession at Mar-a-Lago. At that point, SiriusXM talk show host Megyn Kelly suggested in an interview with the former president last week, he was legally obligated to surrender those records.

"I know this," ...Read more

A Blatantly Unconstitutional Gun Edict Highlights the Hazards of Emergency Powers: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Thinks Violent Crime Gives Her a License to Rule by Decree

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

When New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued "a public health emergency order" that purportedly suspended the right to bear arms in Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County last week, her justification was seemingly straightforward. "I have emergency powers," she told The New York Times. "Gun violence is an epidemic. Therefore, it's...Read more

Rescheduling Marijuana Would Leave Federal Prohibition Essentially Untouched: Although the HHS-Recommended Change Would Benefit Researchers and the Cannabis Industry, It Would Not Resolve the Conflict Between State and Federal Marijuana Laws

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

For half a century, reformers have been urging the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana, which since 1970 has been assigned to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the law's most restrictive category. Although the DEA has always rejected that proposal, it could change course in light of a recent recommendation from ...Read more

A Ruling Against a Man Arrested for a COVID-19 Joke Highlights the Influence of a Pernicious Analogy: A Federal Judge Compared Waylon Bailey's Facebook Jest to 'Falsely Shouting Fire in a Theatre'

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Back in March 2020, a dozen or so sheriff's deputies wearing bulletproof vests descended upon Waylon Bailey's home in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, with their guns drawn, ordered him onto his knees with his hands on his head, and arrested him for a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The SWAT-style raid was provoked by a Facebook post ...Read more

A Netflix Drama Reinforces Pernicious Misconceptions About Pain Treatment: 'Painkiller' Reflects an Indiscriminate Anti-Opioid Bias That Has Caused Needless Suffering

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Former New York Times reporter Barry Meier, whose book about OxyContin is the main basis for the Netflix drama "Painkiller," acknowledges that the drug is "valuable for treating severe pain caused by cancer or chronic health issues." The problem, he says, was that OxyContin's manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, "could only make billions from it by ...Read more

The Arbitrary Ban on Gun Possession by Drug Users Invites Wildly Uneven Enforcement: Violators Are Rarely Caught, While the Unlucky Few Who Face Prosecution Can Go to Prison for Years

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

In a 2021 survey, 15% of American adults admitted using illegal drugs (mostly marijuana) in the previous month. Other surveys suggest that something like 12 million of those drug users owned guns, making them guilty of a federal felony that is currently punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Yet fewer than 150 Americans are prosecuted for ...Read more

A Ham-Handed Bill Attacks the First Amendment in the Name of Protecting Minors From Online Harm: The Kids Online Safety Act Imposes an Amorphous 'Duty of Care' That Would Compromise Anonymous Speech and Restrict Access to Constitutionally Protected Content

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Late last month, a Senate committee considered a 50-page bill with a name that includes the word "kids" and approved it unanimously. Those two facts alone are enough to raise the suspicion that legislators are heading down a winding road toward a destination they only dimly perceive.

That suspicion is amply supported by the text of the Kids ...Read more

The Legally Authorized Charges Against Donald Trump and Hunter Biden Don't Tell Us What Justice Requires: The Nature of Their Conduct Is a Better Indicator of the Punishment They Deserve

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

As Republicans see it, the Justice Department is coming down hard on former President Donald Trump for political reasons, while it is going easy on Hunter Biden because he is the president's son. Although there are plausible grounds for both assessments, they glide over the question of what justice would look like in these cases.

Trump left ...Read more

Why Israelis Are Taking to the Streets: The Furious Response to a Seemingly Modest Reform Reflects a Broader Dispute About the Role of Courts in a Democracy

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

On Monday, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, enacted a relatively modest law that restricts judicial power. The bill bars the Israeli Supreme Court from overturning national government decisions based on "reasonableness," a vague and widely criticized common-law doctrine.

On its face, the furious response to that development, which included ...Read more

Methanol-Tainted Liquor and Xylazine-Tainted Fentanyl Illustrate the Same Prohibitionist Peril: While the Lethal Effects of Iran's Booze Ban Are Widely Recognized, Politicians Ignore Similar Consequences From US Drug Laws

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

When the celebrated Iranian artist Khosrow Hassanzadeh died of methanol poisoning this month, everyone but his country's most ardent theocrats recognized that prohibition was the problem. Yet when the Biden administration unveiled its plan to address the "emerging threat" of fentanyl mixed with the animal tranquilizer xylazine last week, it ...Read more

Critics of the Ruling Against Biden's Anti-'Misinformation' Crusade See No Threat to Freedom of Speech: The Response to the Decision Illustrates the Alarming Erosion of Bipartisan Support for the First Amendment

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Last week, a federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction that bars a long list of federal officials and agencies from encouraging social media platforms to suppress politically disfavored speech. The response to that decision starkly illustrates an alarming erosion of bipartisan support for the evenhanded application of free ...Read more

A Post-Clemency Prosecution Shines a Light on a Broken System: Donald Trump Commuted Esformes' Sentence, but the DOJ Is Bent on Sending Him Back to Prison

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

A month before he left office, then-President Donald Trump freed Philip Esformes, a Florida nursing home operator who had served nearly five years of a 20-year sentence for bilking Medicare and Medicaid. Despite that commutation, the Justice Department plans to retry Esformes for the same conduct that sent him to prison in the first place.

...Read more



Clay Bennett Rick McKee Gary Markstein Jeff Danziger Al Goodwyn Joel Pett