The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 June 2005

Pot stickers

The majority opinion in the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling in Gonzales v. Raich contained this statement from Justice Stevens:

Even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.

Which prompted this response from Ravenwood's Universe:

In other words, if they don't like the law, they should get Congress to change it. This is where the Seventeenth Amendment rears its ugly head.

Depending on which number you believe, there are either 10 or 11 states which support the use of medical marijuana. That means there are 20 to 22 Senators from states where the people or the legislature shows support for the issue. If the Senate were appointed by state legislators (like they were originally), the states would not be so removed from the federal legislative process. As it is now, not only do the states have no rights that the federal government cannot overturn using their loose interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, but they don't even have a voice in federal politics any more.

And Aldahlia considers the situation in California:

Prop. 215 here never trumped federal laws, and that's written on every recommendation issued.

The decision ... was an attempt to overturn the federal trump card, not a decision criminalizing all possession on a state or county level, based on a law that prohibits federal interference intrastate trade practices. Which is why someone like Clarence Thomas (who I must give props to this one time for standing by the old-school notion of "smaller government") voted in Raich's favor. Thomas said the ruling was so broad "the federal government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives and potluck suppers throughout the 50 states."

[M]edical marijuana in California isn't any more illegal today than it was yesterday.

Do I hear a cry of "Judicial activism!" out there?

Certainly not from the Bushniks.

Posted at 10:21 AM to Political Science Fiction

But this isn't a case of judicial activism. Judicial activism is getting the courts involved where they shouldn't be. One could argue (and y'all are and as I would) that this is a case where the courts *should* get involved and have declined to. A judicially activist ruling would be stating that marijuana must be legal in all fifty states because of the phantom privacy amendment or stating that marijuana can't be legalized because it deprives someone of the pursuit of happiness (which is, to say the least, a bit of a stretch).

Where Republican hypocrisy comes in to play is not so much judicial activism but rather federalism. One simply cannot be a federalist and argue that the federal government should dictate narcotics policy that would be better handled at a local level.

Posted by: R. Alex at 11:01 AM on 7 June 2005

Neither party seems particularly interested in federalism except to the extent that it furthers their particular agenda. (I first titled this "Federal, schmederal," but thought better of it. Maybe it wasn't better.)

I'm becoming persuaded that even the Lords of the Drug War are wearying of this whole matter, but dare not back down, lest it be bad for their public image.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:46 AM on 7 June 2005

I'd say that the hypocrisy is pretty glaring in the "right to life" area, too. When you're undergoing chemo, or having any sort of condition which causes wasting of body mass (Hep C, HIV/AIDS, certain cases of MS, advanced anorexia) a case of the munchies, however threatening to the DEA, can save lives. The problem with the "THC Pill" (Marinol, produced by Bayer) is that it takes enormous amounts to be effective for people that can't keep food down, multiple doses of pills. Seems really simple, but I never hear it stated that way.

Posted by: aldahlia at 11:51 AM on 7 June 2005

"right to life"???
the right to live does not mean "right to live stoned" or "right to live misery free"

Posted by: paulsmos at 1:07 PM on 7 June 2005

... and whats wrong with living "misery free"?. Sounds like basic human compassion to me. Do we live to service the STATE or does it live because WE gave it life and it lives to serve US?

Posted by: Ron at 1:13 PM on 7 June 2005

paulsmos, what do you not understand about "eating" being essential to life, or are you unable to read?

Posted by: aldahlia at 2:30 PM on 7 June 2005


There is one party that is always interested in federalism: whichever one is out of power in DC.

Posted by: R. Alex at 3:34 PM on 7 June 2005

The judicial activism that set the stage for this decision started in the 1870s.

This decision was not judicial activism.

It was a ratification of judicial activism.

Posted by: M. Simon at 8:37 PM on 7 June 2005