[Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.]
Reflexive deference to the executive and legislative branches should not be viewed as a judicial virtue but as a vice, argues Evan Bernick of the Center for Judicial Engagement. Accordingly, both conservatives and liberals should be concerned about Judge Merrick Garland’s record of judicial restraint. Read Evan’s dispatch here.
In February, the Muskogee County, Ok., sheriff’s department seized over $50,000 cash from a motorist—despite a complete lack of evidence of illicit activity. The money, proceeds from a Burmese Christian rock band’s U.S. tour, was destined to go to a school in Burma and an orphanage in Thailand. The motorist, a former refugee from Burma who is now a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the group’s volunteer tour manager. Unfazed, the county filed a forfeiture action against the cash and a criminal charge against the manager. But last week prosecutors dropped both—hours after a Washington Post story on the case and IJ’s announcement that we were representing the innocent owners. The victory nevertheless underscores the need for comprehensive civil forfeiture reform, something that Oklahoma legislators rejected earlier this year. Read more about the case here.