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.