Jacob Sullum

Posted May 27, 2015

One charge was conspicuously absent from the indictments that a Baltimore grand jury issued last Thursday in connection with the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he suffered in police custody.

Posted May 20, 2015

According to researchers at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, the war in Iraq that George W. Bush started in 2003 has killed about 200,000 people, mostly civilians, and cost American taxpayers more than $2 trillion.

Posted May 13, 2015

Last week a federal appeals court said police do not need a warrant to look at cellphone records that reveal everywhere you've been. Two days later, another appeals court said the National Security Agency (NSA) is breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting telephone records that show whom you call, when you call them and how long you talk.

Posted May 06, 2015

When the cops chasing Freddie Gray caught up with him, they had a problem: He had not done anything illegal.

Posted April 29, 2015

When Congress passed the PATRIOT Act in 2001, it did not intend to authorize the indiscriminate collection of personal information about every American. But that is what Congress will be doing if it renews the law next month without changes aimed at protecting our privacy from an increasingly intrusive national security state.

Posted April 22, 2015

Back in 1986, Congress passed the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act, a law aimed at "designer drugs" that were similar to illegal compounds but different enough to escape prohibition. Nearly three decades later, the government is still scrambling to keep up with the output of creative underground chemists, banning one psychoactive substance after another, only to find substitutes already on the market.

Posted April 15, 2015

Although the First Amendment right to record the police as they perform their duties in public is well established, cops often violate that right by ordering people to turn off their cameras, confiscating their cellphones or arresting them on trumped-up charges.

Posted April 08, 2015

Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign on Tuesday, calls himself "a different kind of Republican," which at this point remains an accurate description.

Posted April 01, 2015

When President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, the law had broad support in both major political parties and was widely perceived as an expression of a pluralistic society's tolerance. When Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, the law became a bitterly partisan issue, denounced by Democrats across the country as an instrument of bigotry.

Posted March 25, 2015

If you have not done your taxes yet, do not count on getting help from the Internal Revenue Service in answering any last-minute questions that may arise.

Posted March 18, 2015

It's too bad that Graham and other Republicans are not kidding when they say our national security is threatened by inadequate military spending, because that is also a joke. A little perspective shows why.

Posted March 11, 2015

A Justice Department report released last week makes a strong case that Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, last August. The report suggests that Robert McCulloch, the much-maligned St. Louis County prosecutor, made the right call when he decided not to pursue criminal charges against Wilson.

Posted March 04, 2015

There are two ways to view the video of Richard Rynearson's March 2010 encounter with U.S. Border Patrol agents at an immigration checkpoint in Uvalde County, Texas. Authoritarians will say Rynearson should have been more cooperative, while libertarians will say the agents should have been less vindictive.

Posted February 11, 2015

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, people do not have a fundamental right to kill themselves. The Supreme Court of Canada used to agree, but last week it changed its mind.

Posted February 04, 2015

During her confirmation hearings last week, Loretta Lynch, President Obama's choice to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general, called civil forfeiture, a form of legalized theft in which the government takes people's property without accusing them of a crime, "a wonderful tool."

Posted January 28, 2015

The last time the Georgia legislature considered a bill aimed at restricting no-knock search warrants, it was prompted by a 2006 drug raid in which Atlanta police killed Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman who grabbed a revolver to defend herself against the armed men crashing into her home.

Posted January 21, 2015

Money-hungry cops are angry about the forfeiture reform that Attorney General Eric Holder announced last Friday, which suggests it's a move in the right direction. But contrary to initial press reports, the new policy represents a modest change to the rules governing civil forfeiture, which allows the government to take people's assets without accusing them of a crime.

Posted January 14, 2015

On Sunday, as more than a million people marched through the streets of Paris in support of the right to draw cartoons without being murdered, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication declared that "artistic freedom and freedom of expression stand firm and unflinching at the heart of our common European values."

Posted January 07, 2015

Harold Rogers, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, says a rider in the omnibus spending bill that Congress enacted last month stops the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana.

Posted December 31, 2014

Here are some memorable examples from the past year.