340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Weeding out bad ideas, part I

I share Pacanukeha's hate-on for "Chief Justice" Clarence Thomas: the idea of agreeing with Modern Misogyny's Man of the Year makes my skin crawl. Nevertheless, I'm forced to admit that Creepy Clarence made a couple of excellent points when he dissented in Gonzales v. Raich.

The case concerned two members of a California-based medical marijuana co-op that was operating legally under California’s 1996 Compassionate Use Act. Angel Raich and Diane Monson were challenging the federal government's "right" to prosecute medical marijuana. The evolution of the case may be found here (I paraphrase liberally from that source, a well-researched article in Los Angeles City Beat).

They achieved a landmark victory when the Court of Appeals ruled in their favour, with Judge Pregerson stating that “this limited use is clearly distinct from the broader illicit market,” and that the feds had no authority to police it under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

The feds appealed it to the Supremes, who ruled against Raich and Monson but Clarence Thomas--a noted defender of states' rights--dissented, stating:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

The complete version of Thomas' decision may be found on the Legal Information Institute's site.


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