John Wolf has been jailed for failing to cooperate with a federal grand jury. What federal crime is the grand jury investigating? Vandalism to a San Francisco city police car. As Mr. Wolf aptly notes:
If an S.F. police vehicle is considered federal property, then what isn't federal property? Your school? Even City Hall itself. I'm not sure that that extension is accurate, but it's not very much of a stretch and that is very disturbing.
Indeed, it is. As I noted when discussing Sabri v. United States:
I receive federal Stafford loans. Could Congress make it a crime to assault me, on the ground that it is necessary and proper measure to ensure that I remain healthy and thus able to repay their loans? After Sabri, is there any reason why Congress could not enact a federal assault statute that is applicable to anyone who assaults the recipient of federal aid?
Everything, including vandalism to a local policeman's car, is a federal case after Sabri.
Also noteworthy about the grand-jury's investigation is this: Mr. Wolf would have been protected under California's journalist-shielf law. But since it's a federal case, and since there is no federal privilege, he is not protected. Mr. Wolf's situation demonstrates why liberals, too, should be fans of federalism.