Jacob Sullum

Posted September 02, 2015

This Saturday is Jury Rights Day, which commemorates the 1670 acquittal of Quaker leader William Penn by English jurors who refused to convict him even though he had clearly violated a ban on dissenting religious assemblies. Denver is celebrating the occasion by harassing activists who seek to inform the public about the principle embodied in Penn's acquittal: the right of jurors to reject the enforcement of unjust laws, a.k.a. jury nullification.

Posted August 26, 2015

Fogle's behavior -- especially his failure to report Taylor's voyeuristic activity, which allowed it to continue -- was surely reprehensible. But the penalties he faces are similar to Indiana's penalties for sexually assaulting a child, something neither he nor Taylor is accused of doing. Looking at pictures is not a violent crime, and it should not be treated like one.

Posted August 19, 2015

Because Colorado would not grant them a license, David Mullins and Charlie Craig got married in Provincetown, Mass., 2,000 miles away. Because Jack Phillips would not bake them a wedding cake for their hometown reception, they bought one from another bakery in the Denver area.

Posted August 12, 2015

Christie thinks the government needs everyone's records, just in case. Or as other defenders of the NSA's warrantless snooping have put it, you need the whole haystack to find the needle.

Posted August 06, 2015

Which Candidate Has a More Embarrassing Record of Gaffes and Misstatements?

Posted July 29, 2015

Dylann Roof, the man charged with murdering nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last month, faces execution or life imprisonment if he is convicted in state court. A federal indictment announced last week threatens him with the same penalties, although you can't kill a man more than once or lock him up for more than a lifetime.

Posted July 22, 2015

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down a secret criminal investigation that featured early-morning raids on the homes of innocent people and indiscriminate seizures of email, documents and personal property.

Posted July 14, 2015

As the National Security Agency's illegal mass collection of our telephone records illustrates, it is not just foreign governments we need to worry about. Nor are programs aimed at catching terrorists the only threat.

Posted July 08, 2015

Chris Christie says Rand Paul, one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, is "politicizing America's national security" by objecting to the government's indiscriminate collection of our telephone records. The New Jersey governor's puzzling charge against the Kentucky senator illustrates the bullying tactics of the national security state's defenders, who reflexively argue that civil libertarians endanger American lives by questioning mass surveillance.

Posted July 01, 2015

Three years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, to save a key provision that he believed would otherwise be unconstitutional. Last week he did it again, this time to make the law work better.

Posted June 24, 2015

"If Congress had passed some common-sense gun safety reforms after Newtown," President Obama saidon Friday, "we don't know if it would have prevented what happened in Charleston." Actually, we do know: Had the bill to which Obama was referring been enacted, it would not have stopped Dylann Roof from murdering nine people at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church last week.

Posted June 17, 2015

Arkansas has pretty permissive gun laws. It does not require handgun owners to obtain licenses, does not ban so-called assault weapons, issues concealed-carry permits to anyone who meets a short list of objective criteria, accepts carry permits issued by other states and, since 2013, arguably allows people to openly carry handguns without a permit.

Posted June 10, 2015

This week, the Supreme Court passed up an opportunity to get the government out of the bedroom. Counterintuitively, the case involved an ordinance adopted by the famously tolerant and progressive city of San Francisco eight years ago.

Posted June 03, 2015

"Section 215 helps us find a needle in the haystack," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month, referring to the PATRIOT Act provision that the National Security Agency says allows it to scoop up everyone's telephone records.

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.



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