Saturday, December 12, 2009
Laverntiy Beria in the US
"Their briefs and public statements are signs of an emerging consensus on the right that the criminal justice system is an aspect of big government that must be contained. ... 'It's a remarkable phenomenon,' said Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers [NACDL]. 'The left and the right have bent to the point where they are now in agreement on many issues. In the area of criminal justice, the whole idea of less government, less intrusion, less regulation has taken hold.' ... Edwin Meese III, who was known as a fervent supporter of law and order as attorney general in the Reagan administration, now spends much of his time criticizing what he calls the astounding number and vagueness of federal criminal laws. ... 'The problem of overcriminalization is truly one of those issues upon which a wide variety of constituencies can agree,' Mr. [Dick] Thornburgh said. 'Witness the broad and strong support from such varied groups as the Heritage Foundation, the Washington Legal Foundation, the [NACDL], the ABA, the Cato Institute, the Federalist Society and the ACLU.' In an interview at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group where he is a fellow, Mr. Meese said the 'liberal ideas of extending the power of the state' were to blame for an out-of-control criminal justice system. 'Our tradition has always been,' he said, 'to construe criminal laws narrowly to protect people from the power of the state.' ... Such so-called overcriminalization is at the heart of the conservative critique of crime policy. ... Harvey A. Silverglate, a left-wing civil liberties lawyer in Boston, says he has been surprised and delighted by the reception that his new book, 'Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent,' has gotten in conservative circles. ... Several strands of conservatism have merged in objecting to aspects of the criminal justice system. Some conservatives are suspicious of all government power, while others insist that the federal government has been intruding into matters the Constitution reserves to the states. ... 'Conservatives now recognize the economic consequences of a criminal justice leviathan,' said Erik Luna, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. ... 'Scalia and Thomas are vanguards of an understanding by the modern right that its distrust of government extends all the way to the criminal justice system,' said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University", my emphasis, Adam Liptak at the NYT, 24 November 2009, link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/24/us/24crime.html.
Federal criminal law re-evaluation is long overdue. Chief Justice Rehnquist complained of criminal law's over-federalization about 30 years ago. "Conservative" Supremes, Roberts and Alito come "down consistently on the side of the government in these criminal justice cases," said Cato's Timothy Lynch. I can't stand those two. Roberts makes my skin crawl. Here's a post about Silverglate's book, 18 October 2009: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2009/10/three-felonies-day.html.