Ya' wanna know what pisses me off about the SCOTUS ruling on medical marijuana?

I’ll tell you what pisses me off about the Supreme Court’s decision in regards to medical marijuana: everyone’s treating it as if the court were making a decision regarding medical marijuana.

As if Justice Thomas and O’Connor spent three hours last Monday giggling behind the bench ripping through bags of Dorritos while Reihnquist declared, “As Chief Justice, I find this stank weed to be some primo shit!” Meanwhile, Kennedey and Stevens were running around the Court with giant bottles of Febreeze, chastising the Chief Justice for being a lazy homebody whose grades, written decisions, and sex drive had tanked after starting to smoke the ganja for his “joint pain.”

Folks, this wasn’t about the SCOTUS saying is medical marijuana was good or bad, it was about the SCOTUS defining the power of congress to regulate marijuana. On one side, people are arguing that small amounts of marijuana grown for medicinal purposes are unlikely to cross state lines and therefore become interstate commerce, while on the other side people are arguing that growing a generally outlawed drug such as marijuana in one state is likely to find its way into another state in exchange for money. Consequently, Justices that tend to have a more conservative interpretation of the Constitution like Thomas, Rehnquist, and O’Connor sided with Raich et al. while more liberal justices like Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Scalia voted for Gonzales.

In fact, even though Justice Stevens wrote the decision, “against medical marijuana,” he acknowledges “troubling facts” that lead me to believe that he might personally support medical marijuana, this is a case ultimately about federal power rather than medical marijuana itself. So I really wish that clowns such as Calvina Fay from Drug Free America would stop pretending that the Supreme Court has decided that, “yep, Mary Jane really is the weed of Satan!”
See here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=320190

Likewise, stupid bloggers such as this one should stop pretending that the six Justices in the majority only did it because, just like Eric Cartman, they hate dirty hippies and they want to punish users of medical marijuana because they get themselves off late at night watching tapes of people suffering in hospital beds in agony.

All that the Court said was that this was indeed a legislative issue at Federal levels. Thanks, and that’s all folks. I should talk some more about how the idea that a single pot plant grown in central Wyoming is the subject of control of interstate commerce by congress is absolutely idiotic, but that’s a whole 'nother thread. Why if I were a Supreme Court Justice…

But but but but… everyone knows that the point of the Supreme Court is to tell us here in the US what’s right and proper. It’s not about simply judging the limits of law, or how state and federal laws interact. No… it’s about issues, dammit.

I agree both sides are treating this SCOTUS decision as something that it’s not.

I prefer to think of Justice Scalia high, thankyouverymuch.

“So… like… what if the words aren’t all there is?”


I love the image of the SC Justices all stoned out of their minds. Very hilarious.


“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

FinnAgain, just how many years of law and precedent are you planning to throw out to support such a strict Constructionist interpretation? AIUI, the same thing could be said of the Roe v. Wade decision, after all - the Federal gov’t told the States that they couldn’t regulate abortion, based upon a right to privacy, something that’s not mentioned at all in the Constitution at all.

How many ya got? :wink:
Seriously though… I never thought I’d see following the letter and spirit of the original document described as strict construction. The tenth amendment clearly says that any powers not reserved for the government are reserved for the states or the people. Aren’t the rulings of the SC supposed to be based on the constitution?


There is a danger to letting the court make up their own laws. That is not their job. It’s dangerous even when they make up laws that we like.

Right. Exactly. Let’s throw out Roe v. Wade. I agree completely.

Correct. And the danger will become more evident after Bush appoints a Justice or two to the Supreme Court.

Isn’t it better to have the Justices just using the words of the document, not making up their own?

Right now, it’s true, the Republicans control the Congress and the White House. But that can be fixed in the next election.

If the justices of the SC are anathema to you, AND they are permitted to write their own law… they can’t be replaced until they resign or die.

Which gives you the better chance of shaping government to fit your vision?

Hold on, Bricker - let’s keep this from getting into a debate about the right or wrong of Roe v. Wade. And it’s my fault. I’m sorry I mentioned it. It was simply the easiest decision I could think of that I assumed that FinnAgain would think was a good idea whether or not it was good law - but was a similar offense against the line quoted.

FinnAgain, the thing that has to be remembered is that the Constitution was a starting place. Since then it’s been modified by both Amendments and common law precedents in laws that haven’t been struck down by the court. For example - the NTSB, FCC, FAA, NASA, and other law enforcement and regulatory agencies have grown to deal with situations that were completely beyond the imagination of the Founding Fathers.

And AIUI is a board abbreviation for As I Understand It

Well, IANAL, but it strikes me that if a law violates the constitution, it’s unconstitutional.

What’s wrong then with Congress drafting new laws? Isn’t that their job? My point is that laws should not be made from the bench, only interpreted.


The courts have been using “dormant commerce clause” arguments for decades now to increase the power of the federal gov’t at the expense of the states. The endangered species act is a paradigm example of this. Dormant commerce clause arguments were also used to enforce federal non-discrimination statutes which forbade hotel owners from refusing to rent rooms to blacks.

It seems kind of silly to allow this argument in some cases and not others. If the (federal) endangered species act and anti-discrimination statutes pass constitutional muster, then surely the federal government has the power to regulate the use and sale of drugs, licit and illicit.

Personally, I’m in favor of medical marijuana being available to the ill. Legislators state or federal who take a useful medication away from the sick and dying make me quake with anger. But I think SCOTUS was simply following precedent here. As Bricker notes, you cannot accept an interpretation of the constitution when you like it, and reject it when you don’t.

Well, in comparing the anti- and pro-marijuana position, it’s hardly fair to compare a representative organization like Drug Free America with some guy who happens to have a blog.

Instead, if you want to know the position of a pro-marijuana organization, why not look at the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Go to this page and watch the video entitled “Joint Decision.” As NORML’s representative, Allen St. Pierre, says in that segment:

Sounds like he’s putting the onus in this case exactly where it needs to be.

IANAL, either, but I think you’re arguing from both sides of the issue. If you’re insisting that all rights and powers not mentioned in the Constitution belong to the states then we need a Constitutional Amendment to allow the FCC to continue to regulate the airwaves since, by your argument, the States each individually own the airwaves within each state. While I know many people question the reasonableness of the FCC’s decision-making capabilities, I prefer that the Feds control the airwaves so that states don’t get into pissing contests about border stations and markets. Laws passed in Congress have given the Federal gov’t the power to both regulate the airwaves and the sales of licit and illicit drugs. If you’re pushing for one set of laws to be tossed out for violating the Tenth Amendment, consistency should say that both (and all other similar situations) sets should be tossed out as unconstitutional.

I agree that law shouldn’t be imposed from the bench - really, I do. I’m just saying that on the basis of precedent I believe, whatever support and questions I have for medical marijuana use, that the SCOTUS made the correct decision. As the OP pointed out - there is a huge body of law existant based upon the assumption of the Federal gov’t’s ability and power to regulate and control the commerce of drugs.

If we continue with your desire to have the Fed out of the business of controlling licit and illicit drug sales, that also shoots down the Food and Drug Administration. There’s been no Constitutional Amendment that took the regulation of food or drug standards from the several states and given it to the Federal gov’t. Personally, I do not want to see the FDA shut down. Even though I am aware that it has flaws, and that it’s not the only layer of protection for some aspects covered by its mandate.

Sure you can. People do it everyday. You just say “they interpretted the constitution correctly” when the decision is something you agree with, and “they interpretted it incorrectly” when the decision is something you don’t agree with.

At least that would explain how they arrived at the notion that this issue falls within the federal power granted by the Commerce Clause.

Yeah, like, so anyway, say…whatd’ya think of my ruling in that 11th Circuit Case…was that totally fucked up or what?..no, thanks, I just had a Sammy Adams before I came over…Yeah, dude, that lame-ass attorney who filed that amicus brief - man, I used to buy lids from him back in law school - he was always ripping me off and telling me to call the cops - what a tool. Hey, man - maybe I could use a cold one, you got any in the fridge? How 'bout having one of the clerks running over to the 7-11 and getting some…yeah, and tell him to bring back some papers, too, or I’ll have him xeroxing old copies of the Code 'til he’s seeing stars. Have you heard from Sandy? No, me neither. She was supposed to fly over to Humboldt to meet up with her connection but missed the flight. Something about mushrooms or something - I don’t know - I can’t keep her or Ginsberg straight. Yeah, they get all baked and start cackling like a bunch of hens, and then Thomas cranks Parliament screaming “ATOMIC DOG!! BOW WOW WOW!” and the next thing you know the fucking Mashalls are threatening to bust down the door. Hey, man, I forgot to tell you, I found this fat roach under the cushions of the couch in the Conference and thought you might want to fire it up - hell, man, I don’t know - probably from the time that we caught Souter with all that gay porn and him “being a friend of the Court.” Yeah, he’s a perverted little fucker - I hear he’s into really well hung juries! HA HA HA! What? No, man, I’m cool. Hey, want to see my new T-shirt. It’s right here under my robe - yeah, its an old Steal Your Face I picked up last time the Dead played Merriwether - that was a great show except Garca was totally whacked and blew the lyrics to “Help on the Way.” What was that? What? Oh, shit - its the CJ. Light the incense, quick man, light the incense…JUST A MINUTE…I’M IN MY BRIEFS…Oh, man…we’re so screwed…JUST A MINUTE DAMN IT! Fucking Gilber and Sullivan-loving old coot…No, man, just go out the back way…yeah, Kennedy’s cool…just offer him a hit and he’ll let you shine…WHAT? HOLD YOUR DAMN HORSES…Now, where’s my Visine?

If I were on the Court, the decision would read something like this:

"Our ruling is not based on the medical merits of marijuana. If it were, we would overturn the ban. The medical evidence is overwhelming that positive therapeutic effects can be attained with marijuana-based treatment. Unfortunately, that is not the basis of our ruling, because we are an organ of law, not an organ of medicine.

"Our ruling, thus, is based strictly and solely in the law. The United States Congress has chosen to make marijuana unavailable to the medical establishment, and it is our opinion that they have the legal power to do this.

“We therefore uphold their ban, but we simultaneously entreat the Congress to re-evaluate their choice in light of the overwhelming medical evidence showing their choice to be a bad one.”

Finis. Half a page, and done.

I know it sort of kind of says some of that in fancified legal language, but short and sweet has an appeal all its own.

My bolding. The reason the legal opinion is so lengthy is the tortured logic necessary to support that phrase. If all the court had to do was state its conclusion, every opinion would be brief.


Emphasis mine. Hee.

And in two threads now, I’ve asked for the position of strict constructionists as to the constitutionality of the Administrative Procedures Act. I’d still love to get a response from either Bricker or John Mace. It’s relevant in the context of the Raich decision and relates to your comments in this and other threads.