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Rehnquist: Too Many Laws

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Rehnquist: Too Many Laws

Rehnquist: Too Many Laws

Is it possible that we actually have too many laws in America? A federal Congress that meets non-stop, year after year. Fifty state legislatures, most of which meet almost every day of the year. Is it any wonder that the thousands of lawmakers employed around the nation keep rolling out new laws like a major manufacturing firm?

Recently, the Chief Justice of the United States, William Rehnquist, addressed this issue. He stated that there are too many federal laws, which are creating an overflow of federal crimes. Many of these matters, according to the nation's top judge, ought to be handled at the state and local level.

The Chief Justice decried lawmakers who politicize tragedies and high-profile crimes and then try to address them from Washington with new federal laws. He stated, "Federal courts were not created to adjudicate local crimes, no matter how sensational or heinous the crimes may be. Matters that can be handled adequately by the states should be left to them."

And Chief Justice Rehnquist got specific. He cited federal car-jacking laws, child support laws and the Animal Enterprise Protection Act as three examples of laws passed by Congress that simply should not exist at the federal level.

Sadly, in our day of media over-hype, most politicians introduce laws in response to the daily headlines. They don’t stop to consider the Constitution, or even the legal consequences. They just take a poll, interpret the results, introduce a bill, and campaign off their responsive sensitivity.

Constitutional experts have been decrying this approach for years. Now they have an ally in the nation's top judicial official. The only question is, whether the political parties, and their pollsters, care enough about the Constitution to listen. What do you think about this?

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