A View from the Left The US Supreme Court stepped back from a Federalist position (again) and rejected the argument that States have the right to decide that they can legalize marijuana for medical use.
Terminally ill patients who smoke marijuana to alleviate pain can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws, even if their own state laws allow them to use marijuana for medical purposes, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
Is this a case of "conservatives" imposing their moral values upon an unsuspecting public?
This was a decision made by the "liberal" members of the Court with the majority opinion written by Justice Stevens arguably the most liberal member of the court.
In contrast, "conservative" Justices O'Connor, Thomas, and Rehnquist wrote dissenting opinions
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote a sharp dissent, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas, in which she accused the majority of trivializing past decisions that have curbed the scope of federal power. O'Connor said the decision "stifles an express choice by some states, concerned for the lives and liberties of their people, to regulate medical marijuana differently."
While Justice Stevens, writing for the majority, who included "liberal" Justices Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer argued that such a law impedes Congress' ability to regulate interstate travel.
...the regulation is squarely within Congress' commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for the commodity," Stevens wrote for the court.
The fact of the matter is, this case was about State's rights, Federalism, and the ability of a State to mitigate against overreaching regulation by the Federal government.
Surprisingly, Justice Scalia voted with the majority (not that it mattered since Justice Kennedy was the deciding vote) though he did not sign the majority opinion. Instead he wrote a separate, concurring opinion in which he tried to explain himself to all of us who are surprised
"Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce," Justice Scalia said.
Hmmm. Must be a finer line that than I can discern that separated him from the majority.
Justice Thomas' dissenting opinion got it right
"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."
But it is pretty clear that it is not the "right" who stood in the way of allowing Ms Raich her medical marijuana. No, when the left side of the bench saw an opportunity to strengthen the power of the Federal Government they took it.
And as much as the "left" rails against government power when Republicans have it, do not be mislead into believing that they are not supporters of concentrating power in the Federal government. Universal health care concentrates power within the Federal Government as does any increase in the Welfare State. And each of these proposals, if (or to the extent) implemented deprives people of rights and curtails free choice.
The actions of the Court in this case is anti-Federalist, and directly undermines the ability of citizens to take control of their political and economic environment.
And the actions of the court are in fact consistent with the core beliefs of the left.
Branded Arthur Chrenkoff in his 13th edition of Good News from Afghanistan points to this interesting tid bit
A crowd of 600 Afghan clerics gathered in front of an historic mosque yesterday to strip the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar of his claim to religious authority, in a ceremony that provided a significant boost to the presidency of Hamid Karzai.
The declaration, signed by 1,000 clerics from across the country, is an endorsement of the US-backed programme of reconciliation with more moderate elements of the Taliban movement that Karzai has been pursuing ahead of the country's first parliamentary elections, due in September.
Symbolically, the ulema shura, or council of clerics, was held at the Blue Mosque in the southern city of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban movement.
At the same venue in 1996 the Taliban leader held up a cloak said to belong to the Prophet Mohammed, which is kept in a shrine in the mosque. He was proclaimed Amir ul-Mumineen or Leader of Muslims by the same clerical body, one of the few occasions the title has been granted anywhere in the Islamic world in the modern era.
Go read the whole thing.
"Pretty much, they all behave the same, and they all look the same. ... It's pretty much a white Christian party."
This of course would be news to Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman who is Jewish. But insulting his opposition by employing derogatory stereotypes seems to be Deans stock in trade. Since I noted the contrast between his behavior, and effectiveness, and that of Mr Mehlman's here, Gov Dean attributed Democratic losses in elections to the fact that Democrats work for living, and therefore can't get time off to vote, while Republicans have all the time in the world because they don't work for a living, at least not honestly.<
Calls for Dean to shut up from his own party go unheeded.
Perhaps his audience, though, are simply people who think in large chunks and are comfortable with making blanket statements that caricature the opposition.
In which case, they deserve to be marginalized.