Two separate columns.

(Feb. 26) While hearing a California-based case fascinating on its own merits, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch raised a side issue of perhaps even greater importance, one which rightly unites reformers from across the political spectrum.

The case was about when police in “pursuit” of a suspect can be allowed to enter the suspect’s property without a search warrant. It’s an issue involving many layers of law and logic, one worthy of close attention.

Also well worthy of attention, though, is the side issue raised by Gorsuch. It is a favorite topic of his, one which reporters and analysts have associated with him for years. It also is one to which we at the Washington Examiner have returned repeatedly while advocating some of the same sorts of reforms Gorsuch seems to suggest are necessary.

The issue, the problem, is called “overcriminalization.”… [The full column is at this link.]

(Feb. 23) The U.S. Supreme Court now has promulgated the bizarre illogic that challenges to sketchy voting practices come too soon if they are made before the election but too late if they come afterward. Its silent inaction amounts to an open invitation to serious voting-related mischief in future elections.

In dissent on Monday, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch were right to blast the other justices’ refusal to hear two Pennsylvania cases. Both cases involved the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s sudden, unilateral changes last fall to the state’s voting procedures against the express language of laws duly passed by the state’s Legislature.

In 2019, the Legislature passed a law providing for widespread mail-in balloting. In response to COVID-19, the Legislature amended the law but kept in place a requirement that ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Last September, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, on its own authority, extended the deadline until three days after regular balloting closes, and it even muddied a requirement that ballots must at least be postmarked clearly by Election Day.

Without comment, and against four dissenting votes, the court back then refused to interfere to stop the state court from effectively writing a new law on the fly…. [The full column is here.]


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