Below are the questions from VC readers which I just sent to Senator Thompson, purusant to his invitation. The readers came up with an excellent variety of questions, and I would be interested in Senator Thompson's answers to almost all of them. The campaign had only asked for 4-5 questions, and I streched by submitting 6; if there had been more questions, I would have included some of the questions on telecom policy, shrinking the federal government, and illegal immigration. I aimed for questions that were fairly specific, so as to elicit an answer (I hope) which reveals substance, rather than something that can be answered with broad platitudes. For example, Giuliani and Thompson both claim to strongly support the Second Amendment, and the Court of Appeals ruling in the DC ban on handguns and on armed self-defense; so I picked a gun question that invites a precise answer, and which could reveal differences between the candidates. In general, I aimed for forward-loooking questions ("what would you do" rather than "what would you have done?" questions). For almost all the questions, I made slight editing changes (and some I added a subquestion to get some precise information about future policy).
In general, I think that all of the questions raise important issues, and that most of them are unlikely to get asked in a standard debate format. If any other Presidential candidates want to solicit questions from VC readers, they are of course welcome to do so!
1. What is your view of civil asset forfeiture in the absence of a criminal conviction? Would you make any changes in current executive branch policies, or propose any changes in federal forfeiture laws?
2. Do you believe that Gonzales v. Raich was correctly decided? If you were President, would your Department of Justice take action against patients and providers of medical marijuana who were acting in compliance with state law?
3. If Roe v Wade were overturned, would your commitment to federalism compel you to veto a congressional bill banning abortion? Or in a post-Roe world would you seek to ban abortion by federal law regardless of the wishes of the individual states?
4. Which Attorney General do you most admire? Why?
5. Which, if any, federal gun control laws do you support repealing?
6. You were instrumental in securing passage of McCain-Feingold. Have your views on either the law's effectiveness or constitutionality changed in the years since it was passed, and what would you do about the continually-increasing purview of the Federal Elections Commission? Would you favor new legislation to protect the Internet or non-profits from McCain-Feingold?