Consider the case of Timothy Boomer, who went on an expletive-laced rant after his canoe capsized in the Rifle River just north of Detroit in 1999. Unfortunately for Boomer, a mother and child on shore overheard his string of profanity, and the offended woman called the police. Shockingly, a judge found Boomer guilty of violating a Michigan law, dating back to the 19th century — and last reworded in 1931 — which states that anyone using “indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar, or insulting language in the presence or hearing of any woman or child shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
It took three years for an appeals court to finally overturn Boomer’s misdemeanor charge and, in the process, invalidate (but, of course, not actually repeal) the antiquated law on both First Amendment and “void for vagueness” grounds. Such a statute, needless to say, also has serious gender-equality problems.
The Pocono Libertarians have a long list of ridiculous laws, although it has't been updated in a while. So: Would these laws be more or less likely to persist if they were always named after their sponsors? Would the shame of State Sen. Smithjones' descendents, who had to hear their pop's name every time someone was arrested for mating his daschunds 500 feet away from a church, provide the impetus to scrape the laws off the books?
(Headline reference here.)
UPDATE: Forgot to link this sorta-related Jeremy Lott interview with reason cover boy David Harsanyi.