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 dont 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?