November 25, 2004
Overcriminalization is a legal issue that is prominent in the white collar crime area. It is also an area that is not unique to one political philosophy. Take for example a recent symposium at American University, Washington College of Law, sponsored by the American University Law Review, The Heritage Foundation, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Could one have a more diverse group sponsoring this event?
Speaking out about the federalization of criminal law is the American Bar Association, that assembled a commission to study the issue (headed by Edwin Meese III) and in 1998 issued a report that stated that "[a]lthough it may be impossible to determine exactly how many federal crimes could be prosecuted today, it is clear that of all federal crimes enacted since 1865, over forty percent have been created since 1970."
But this does not seem to be stopping Congress.
Paul Rosenzweig and Trent England of the Heritage Foundation recently authored a piece titled, Horsing Around Congress, in the American Spectator. It's on one of the latest congressional considerations - the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. As they state, " [f]or some reason, in the midst of the war on terrorism and debates about the economy and Social Security, Congress is trying to criminalize horsemeat."
It's well worth a read.