Policy Wonk’s Guide to the Gubernatorial Election

To the uninitiated, the choice between two remarkably similar candidates, Govs. O’Malley and Ehrlich, must seem like a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Both are candidates whose past appeals have rested on personalities rather than issues. Both have become expert at deferring hard fiscal choices. Neither has been vigorous in cutting budgets. Both have a […]

Now What For Obama?

Now that President Barack Obama has achieved the long-time goal of the Democratic Party of passing a comprehensive health reform bill, he must ask himself what comes next. He has achieved a great political victory but now comes the difficult part of paying for and administering the now greatly enlarged government responsibility for the nation’s […]

Terrorism trials: no new issues, no need to panic

The controversy over the upcoming Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial has not enlightened the public. Those who would deny rights to persons denounced by the president and those who automatically reject all alternatives to criminal trials have seen to that. Prisoners of war are persons captured in uniform of whose enemy status there is no doubt. […]

Beyond drug law reform: We need a new Wickersham Commission

Change is in the offing for U.S. drug policy. More than a dozen states, including Maryland, have adopted medical marijuana laws. Attorney General Eric Holder, a decisive member of a sometimes indecisive administration, stated that federal laws against marijuana possession would not be enforced against persons immune under such state laws. Various jurisdictions in California […]

Reforming Certiorari Jurisdiction

This indignant screed is prepared in support of a proposal circulated by Professors Paul Carrington and Roger Cramton and endorsed by several dozen judges, academic lawyers and practitioners. The proposal would somewhat enlarge the Supreme Court’s docket and transfer control of most of it to a certiorari division of the Supreme Court consisting of five […]

Of ‘Czars’ and History

The recent Senate hearing on the Obama administration’s ‘czars’ deserves more attention than the facetious comments of Dana Milbank. We see now the latest instance of a bi-partisan and recurrent problem, last seriously discussed at the time of Watergate. At that time the constitutional scholar Alexander Bickel observed “In opposing cant of ‘not men, but […]

At the Court of the Sun King: The Vice of Centralization

What can be said of the Obama administration? This is not Roosevelt’s 100 days: it has left no permanent impression on the American economy or government. This is no reform administration, though it follows 16 years of inadequate presidential leadership. When it is considered that the Defense, State, Treasury and Justice Departments are all led […]

Reform crime laws

Let’s hear from the state’s attorney candidates on peremptory challenges, drug offenses In a little more than two weeks, Baltimore City voters will participate in a seriously contested election for state’s attorney. There are various suggestions for rendering the criminal justice system more efficient. “Smoking out” the candidates would be useful to city voters next […]

Sun ignores facts in DHR suit

Your editorial of August 5 on the Massinga foster care decision fails to make clear the reasons why Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Judge J. Frederick Motz properly felt that a further hearing was required (“A breach of trust,” Aug. 6). The recent decision of the Supreme Court disrupts cozy arrangements between advocacy groups and […]

Maryland and the Stimulus: Responsibility Deferred

Few states can have used the benefits accruing to them in the Obama administration’s stimulus bill as irresponsibly as Maryland. We may pass in review the bill’s effect on Maryland public policy: Pension and Retirement Systems The Calvert Institute and the Maryland Public Policy Foundation recently published a study of Maryland’s public pension and retiree […]