Domestic Convictions for Foreign Violations

The result is that the Lacey Act creates a remarkable anomaly in federal criminal law because it delegates federal lawmaking authority to foreign officials. Because of this delegation, the act violates Articles I and II of the Constitution, as well as the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Those provisions forbid Congress and the President from handing over to foreign officials the ability to adopt rules or regulations that govern the conduct of the people in this country.

Protection of wildlife and their natural environment is a worthwhile endeavor, but like every such undertaking it can only be done within the limit of the law. Good intentions cannot substitute for legal authority. The Lacey Act attempts to achieve a worthwhile goal in a constitutionally illegitimate manner. Congress cannot delegate its lawmaking power to foreign government officials.

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