Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer, Serial Over-Legislator, Is Your New Senate Minority Leader

The ranking Senate Democrat wants to legislate everything-but balked at creating a federal database to keep track of bad cops.


I was born to legislate
David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

As expected, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will replace the retiring Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as Senate Minority Leader.

Reason fans will surely remember Schumer being immortalized as one number 41 on our "50 Enemies of Freedom" list, where his career as a serial over-legislator earned this tribute:

If (bad) conservative screenwriters set out to create a smugly liberal, lens-hungry New York senator, they'd come up with Charles Schumer—and they'd be criticized for creating a strawman. But Schumer is, somehow, real. He crusades sneeringly against guns, drugs, breakfast cereal, cybercurrencies, and caffeinated powders while supporting security-state legislation and cozying up with crony capitalists on Wall Street.

As Nick Gillespie once wrote of Schumer, "No issue is too stupid or inconsequential for Schumer to weigh in on, inevitably calling for a ban or regulation that serves no other possible purpose than to shine a light on the glory and grandeur of Chuck Schumer."

Although, in fairness to the senior senator from my home state, he once led Congressional efforts to oppose legislation while still a member of the House of Representatives in 1996. The issue at hand: a federal database to keep track of police officers who had lost their certifications to practice law enforcement because of things like abuse or corruption, which was intended to prevent said officers from finding law enforcement jobs in other states.

In a Reason feature on the renewed efforts to create such a database, I wrote of Schumer's rare moment of legislative restraint:

During hearings before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, police union representatives compared the proposed legislation to the "witch hunts of Salem." Their congressional allies, most notably now–Sen. Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.), worried aloud during a hearing in July 1996 that the database would create "a major administrative burden" and be a "major invasion of privacy of police officers."

Schumer has proposed legislation on everything from energy drinks to maple syrup to e-cigarette flavors. During the hearings he said "I'm a little dubious of legislating" a bill that would assist in the prevention of hiring armed agents of the state who are granted the right to use lethal force that have been banned from working as cops elsewhere.

Click here to check out Gillespie's exhaustive (but by no means comprehensive) list of Schumer's most "stupid or inconsequential" attempts to control the lives of everyday citizens through the brute force of law.