The protection of private property from illegal search and seizure is at the heart of our criminal justice system. But a new report from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reveals that the federal government isn’t taking this principle seriously at all.
The Department of Justice has seized $28 billion in private assets over the course of the last ten years, 77 percent of which was seized “administratively.” That means there was no review by an independent court: the federal government seized $21 billion without any accountability whatsoever.
To make matters worse, the OIG report also found that the feds have no way to track the effectiveness of this kind of asset forfeiture. Federal agencies seize the money and no one quite knows what happens to it after that.
Obviously, the constitutionality of this practice is suspect.
In a March 6 written opinion commenting on a Supreme Court decision not to consider a challenge to a civil asset forfeiture, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the Court should reassess “whether modern civil-forfeiture statutes can be squared with the Due Process Clause and our Nation’s history.”
Whether constitutional or no, the DOJ’s asset forfeiture program is yet another instance of the federal government abusing its power. While marginal reform from within DC is possible, the best way to stop this kind of abuse is with an Article V Convention of States.
A Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Such amendments can give the states and the people more power to hold DC accountable. Whether it be asset forfeiture, health care overreach, or fiscal irresponsibility, We the People need a recourse when the feds overstep their constitutional bounds.