by Paul Larkin
The Heritage Foundation
January 14, 2014
The Lacey Act is a federal statute governing the importation of flora and fauna into the United States from foreign nations. Specifically, the act demands that a person who imports flora or fauna from a foreign nation must know every law of every foreign country—in whatever form that law may take, in whatever language that law may be written, and however obscure that law may be—on pain of criminal liability. It is unreasonable to assume that the average American citizen can keep track of foreign laws and regulations, as well as the (potentially multifarious) official government interpretations of them. The open-ended, dynamic, standardless incorporation of foreign law enforced by criminal penalties is unsound as a matter of criminal justice policy and impermissible as a matter of constitutional law.

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