Monday, June 06, 2005

Judicial Activism Alert: Court Overturns Medical Marijuana Laws

In a 6-3 ruling the Supreme Court has invalidated medical marijuana laws throughout the nation. Once again, the Court has broadly interpreted the Commerce Clause to grant the federal government vast power over the states.

Make no mistake, this is judicial activism. But since the Bush administration was pressing for this outcome, we certainly won’t hear criticism from the White House. But this is an unfortunate ruling. States must be given the right to experiment with new ideas. It’s one thing to overrule a law that restricts people’s rights, but by overturning a law that actually expanded rights, the Court is basically saying that states have little or no authority to pass laws more permissive than are the laws of the Federal government.

I don’t know if medical marijuana laws were a good idea. But I do know that letting a few states experiment with them was a proper and democratic way to address this nation’s often needlessly severe drug laws.

Interestingly, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas were the three who dissented. These three justices should be commended for their consistency on defending states rights. President Bush, however, has some explaining to do as to what he exactly means by “judicial activism.” I guess it’s bad unless it’s used to rule in favor of the President.


At 10:51 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

I was a little confused about the entire Commerce Clause imbroglio. Why would medical marijuana be considered as subject to the CC?

As far as I'm aware, it is still illegal in all states in the Union to sell the stuff outside of medical reasons. And you can only do that within the bounds of your state.

The medical marijuana laws in 11 or 12 states would simply legalize it for those folks having a valid prescription to grow and dispense it for medical reasons IN THEIR OWN STATES.

If you ship it out of state, then you're breaking your own state laws. The Federal Gov't ought not to be involved at all.

The whole marijuana illegality issue is stupid anyway, but that's just my opinion. I say legalize it and tax the hell out of it. Just like liquor and tobacco.

There aren't any laws that say an individual can't brew their own beer or grow enough tobacco to cover their personal use. You just can't sell it without a license.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger TAotB said...

You might be interested in this post about my position on this re: judicial activism.


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