Thursday, January 12, 2006
On this day:

Yes, that was a cheap shot

I'm not at all certain how likely it is that Don Siegelman will be convicted under the RICO charges he now faces. In fact, many of the charges are troubling to me in that they illustrate what I believe to be an undesirable trend: the use of the RICO statute to federalize crimes that have been understood traditionally (and, it can be argued, constitutionally) to fall under the jurisdiction of the states.

Congress passed RICO under its constitutional authority to "regulate interstate commerce," but several, if not all, of the crimes that Siegelman is alleged to have committed are only incidentally related to interstate commerce. Too bad for Mr. Siegelman, though...few in the federal government have cared much for the federalism of the Constitution since about 1933.