Conservatives Discover Criminal Defendants

The NYT reports on increasing involvement by conservative organizations and business groups on behalf of criminal defendants.  While libertarians have long complained about “overcriminalization” and excessive federalization of criminal law, such concerns have gained increasing currency in more traditional conservative circles.  This is a good thing. [UPDATE: But not according to Media Matters.]

QUICK ADDENDUM: Of course some conservatives have long been concerned about “overcriminalization.”  National Review‘s Frank Meyer, for instance, was a fierce critic of Frank v. Maryland and his brand of fusionist conservatism was suspicious of all government power.  Yet many so-called “law and order” conservatives were less sympathetic to such concerns, and these conservatives began to have significant influence on the Republican Party beginning with the Nixon Administration and continuing thereafter.  Some of the excesses of environmental enforcement conservatives complain of today were actually pioneered by law-and-order types in the Reagan Administration.  So I think it is fair to suggest that many conservatives are late to this party.