Jacob Sullum

Posted December 17, 2014

Cheney replied that the end -- to "get the guys who did 9/11" and "avoid another attack against the United States" -- justified the means. "I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective," he said.

Posted December 10, 2014

Last week, in response to the shooting of Michael Brown and other controversial uses of deadly force by police, President Obama proposed federal funding for body cameras to record interactions between cops and members of the public.

Posted December 03, 2014

The new federal regulations requiring conspicuous calorie counts for "restaurant-type food" not only force eateries, bars, bakeries, grocery stores and movie theaters across the country to present consumers with information.

Posted November 26, 2014

If Darren Wilson had been indicted, he almost certainly would have been acquitted, precisely because important details of his deadly encounter with Brown are hard to pin down.

Posted November 19, 2014

Two years ago, New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved something called the South Inlet Mixed Use Development Project, which was intended to "complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort."

Posted November 12, 2014

Of the three jurisdictions where voters approved marijuana legalization last week, Washington, D.C., is the smallest but the most symbolically potent. The prospect of legal marijuana in the nation's capital dramatically signals the ongoing collapse of the 77-year-old ban on a much-maligned plant.

Posted November 05, 2014

After a judge rejected Maine's attempt to quarantine Kaci Hickox, the state's attorney general said she was "very pleased," while the state's governor called the decision "unfortunate." The difference between these two reactions is the difference between a rational, scientifically informed response to Ebola and a demagogic response that sacrifices liberty to a popular panic.

Posted October 29, 2014

In a 1993 decision upholding the involuntary hospitalization of a Newark man with tuberculosis, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Donald Goldman noted that "the claim of 'disease' in a domestic setting has the same kind of power as the claim of 'national security' in matters relating to foreign policy."

Posted October 22, 2014

Before Tom Frieden became director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009, his two main nemeses were tuberculosis and smoking.

Posted October 15, 2014

Last week a federal judge in Texas overturned that state's voter ID law, while a federal appeals court declined to reconsider its decision upholding part of a Texas abortion law enacted last year. Whether or not these statutes are ultimately deemed constitutional, they illustrate how politicians use trumped-up threats to conceal ulterior motives, a habit that makes honest debate impossible.

Posted October 08, 2014

Bob Barr, the former Georgia congressman who wrote the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, later apologized for it, saying it embodied "one-way federalism," protecting "only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state."

Posted October 01, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder, who last week said he plans to step down as soon as Congress approves his replacement, sees criminal justice reform as the "signature achievement" of his five and a half years in office. He is probably right about that, especially since his record on civil liberties and executive power is almost uniformly awful.

Posted September 24, 2014

A year ago, before public and congressional opposition changed his mind, President Obama planned to attack the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator whom he said had to go.

Posted September 17, 2014

A few years ago, when President Obama unilaterally decided to get involved in Libya's civil war, he argued that he did not need approval from Congress because bombing military targets does not constitute "hostilities" under the War Powers Resolution. That argument was so laughable that even the war's supporters in Congress and the press, not to mention Obama's own Office of Legal Counsel, rejected it.

Posted September 10, 2014

President Obama concedes that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) does not pose a direct threat to our country, but argues that one day it might. That is the core of the case for the new war in the Middle East that Obama announced this week, although it's easy to forget amid all the other rationales.

Posted September 03, 2014

In an interview with The New York Times last month, President Obama confessed that when he decided to help rebels overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, he "underestimated" the ensuing chaos. "That's a lesson that I now apply every time I ask the question, 'Should we intervene militarily?'" Obama said. "Do we have an answer (for) the day after?"

Posted August 27, 2014

Contrary to what you may have heard, the armored vehicles that appeared on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., during the unrest that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown did not come from the Pentagon. "Most of the stuff you are seeing in video coming out of Ferguson is not military," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Defense Department's press secretary, told reporters last week. "The military is not the only source of tactical gear in this country."

Posted August 20, 2014

Running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Rand Paul became known as that crazy right-winger who expressed reservations about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But in the past two years, the Kentucky Republican has emerged as his party's most passionate voice on criminal justice reform, explicitly decrying the system's disproportionate impact on African Americans.

Posted August 06, 2014

In 1996, Eric Holder urged the D.C. Council to reinstate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Two decades later, as an attorney general who has repeatedly criticized "draconian" mandatory minimums and sought to limit their use, he faces resistance from the federal prosecutors he oversees.

Posted July 30, 2014

In 2003, a Nebraska state trooper stopped Emiliano Gonzolez for speeding on Interstate 80 and found $124,700 inside a cooler on the back seat of the rented Ford Taurus he was driving.