When U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch testifies this week at her confirmation hearings to be Attorney General, she will be auditioning to manage the largest law enforcement agency in the nation. This role requires a strong commitment to the rule of law, as well as a sound understanding of the problems facing the agency under her control.
The Senators questioning Ms. Lynch this week should inquire into her understanding of the federal criminal code, her commitment to running the Department of Justice in accordance with its highest traditions of honor and integrity, and the distorting effects of perverse incentives created by current policy.
1. Do you agree with scholars and experts who say we have an over-criminalization problem in this country?
In a recent Federalist Society paper on overcriminalization, scholar Ronald A. Cass noted that there are now between 4,000 and 5,000 federal criminal laws. Although most crimes are collected in Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the others are spread acrossmore than 40 volumes. The number of federal regulatory crimes is so large that even the Congressional Research Service says it cannot count them.