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  • Author: Jeffrey Miron
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In November 2012, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives that legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are scheduled to consider similar measures in the fall of 2014, and other states may follow suit in the fall of 2016.
  • Topic: War on Drugs, Social Movement, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Colombia
  • Author: Michael B. Rappaport
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The constitutional amendment procedure of Article V is defective because the national convention amendment method does not work. Because no amendment can be enacted without Congress's approval, limitations on the federal government that Congress opposes are virtually impossible to pass. This defect may have prevented the enactment of several constitutional amendments that would have constrained Congress, such as amendments establishing a balanced budget limitation, a line-item veto, or congressional term limits. The increasingly nationalist character of our constitutional charter may not be the result of modern values or circumstances, but an artifact of a distorted amendment procedure. Article V should be reformed to allow two-thirds of the state legislatures to propose a constitutional amendment which would then be ratified or rejected by the states, acting through state conventions or state ballot measures. Such a return of power to the states would militate against our overly centralized government by helping to restore the federalist character of our Constitution. Moreover, a strategy exists that would allow this reform to be enacted.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon, Diane Cohen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: When a member of Congress introduces legislation, the Constitution requires that legislative proposal to secure the approval of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the president (unless Congress overrides a presidential veto) before it can become law. In all cases, either chamber of Congress may block it.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Trevor Burrus
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Public broadcasting has been in critics' crosshairs since its creation in 1967. Assailed from all sides with allegations of bias, charges of political influence, and threats to defund their operations, public broadcasters have responded with everything from outright denial to personnel changes, but never have they squarely faced the fundamental problem: government-funded media companies are inherently problematic and impossible to reconcile with either the First Amendment or a government of constitutionally limited powers.
  • Topic: Government, Communications, Mass Media, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alex Nowrasteh
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Arizona's immigration laws have hurt its economy. The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) attempts to force unauthorized immigrants out of the workplace with employee regulations and employer sanctions. The 2010 Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neigh¬borhoods Act (SB 1070) complements LAWA by granting local police new legal tools to enforce Ari¬zona's immigration laws outside of the workplace.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Labor Issues, Immigration, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, Arizona
  • Author: Julian Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Congress recently approved a temporary extension of three controversial surveillance provisions of the USA Patriot Act and successor legislation, which had previously been set to expire at the end of February. In the coming weeks, lawmakers have an opportunity to review the sweeping expansion of domestic counter-terror powers since 9/11 and, with the benefit of a decade's perspective, strengthen crucial civil-liberties safeguards without unduly burdening legitimate intelligence gathering. Two of the provisions slated for sunsetroving wiretap authority and the so-called “Section 215” orders for the production of records—should be narrowed to mitigate the risk of overcollection of sensitive information about innocent Americans. A third—authority to employ the broad investigative powers of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against “lone wolf” suspects who lack ties to any foreign terror group—does not appear to be necessary at all.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Intelligence, National Security, Counterinsurgency, Governance, Law
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles W. Baird
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: F. A. Hayek and W. H. Hutt wrote extensively about the malign economic and social effects of the special privileges and immunities granted by governments to labor unions, but they wrote much less about what a free-market unionism might look like. They argued that all legislation that has conferred coercive powers on unions should be repealed, but they did not propose any specific free-market union legislation to take its place. Perhaps they thought that if all offending legislation were repealed there would be no need for any union-specific legislation. The common law of property, contract, and tort would suffice. Nevertheless, it is difficult in American politics to replace something with nothing. Therefore, I think it is useful, albeit constructivist, to propose a free-market alternative to the Norris- LaGuardia Act of 1932 (NLA) and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 as amended in 1947 (NLRA). Perhaps the chief value of such a proposal is to make explicit what the ordinary law of property, contract and tort implies for the labor market and the role of unions therein. New Zealand's 1991 Employment Contracts Act (ECA) is a good, but imperfect, guide in this endeavor.
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: America, New Zealand
  • Author: Stephen J. Schulhofer, David Friedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Criminal defense systems are in a state of perpetual crisis, routinely described as “scandalous.” Public defender offices around the country face crushing caseloads that necessarily compromise the quality of the legal representation they provide. The inadequacy of existing methods for serving the indigent is widely acknowledged, and President Obama has recently taken steps to give the problem a higher priority on the national agenda.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Markets, Law, Prisons/Penal Systems
  • Author: Michael F. Cannon
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the medical malpractice "crisis" and the potential of contract liability to reduce overall malpractice costs as well as improve the quality of and access to care. First, the paper describes the current medical malpractice liability "system" and some of the more common reforms offered. It then discusses the economic rationale of allowing patients and providers to agree in advance of treatment on how the patient will be compensated in the event of simple negligence on the part of providers, explaining how contract liability may offer improvements in the areas of costs, patient preferences, the pursuit of more efficient liability rules, and quality of care. The paper then critiques select objections to contract liability – those based on the superior bargaining power of providers, the lack of information available to patients, and possible reductions in quality – and forwards possible limitations on the right to contract that may allay such concerns.
  • Topic: Health, Law, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States