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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
When the cops chasing Freddie Gray caught up with him, they had a problem: He had not done anything illegal.
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.
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.
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.
Rand Paul, who launched his presidential campaign on Tuesday, calls himself "a different kind of Republican," which at this point remains an accurate description.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."