Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hell Freezes Over: Freepers and Clarence Thomas make sense

Regarding the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the U.S. government to regulate anything, anywhere (but especially medical marijuana), here is what Clarence Thomas has to say:

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‚Äďand the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

And here's what the Freepers have to say about it:

  • Growing for your own use isn't even commerce,let alone inte(r)state commerce.
  • ... there are many instances in which the federal government has overstepped its limits set forth by the Constitution. This case is another such example. Our state governments are routinely overruled by federal courts in cases which deal with the sole rights and powers of state goverment.
  • I think this decision is humorous in that one of the opinions said something to the effect that if they allow medicinal use of pot, crooked doctors would be writing false perscriptions. What a crock. We can't stop the tons of the stuff that comes into the country or is grown here and they're actually worried that doctors writing bad perscriptions is going to have some kind of major impact? Please. Americans consume tons of pot. I can't believe we haven't legalized it just for the tax revenue... never mind how popular it is.
  • The way I understand the SCOTUS decision is that since there is no interstate commerce involved, that has an effect/impact on interstate commerce. I'm confused.
  • You're not confused, they're propping up a bunch of people on federal welfare programs like the Injustice Dept., the FBI, the ATF, the ......
  • Seems like just another judicial fiat. The law is what we'd like it to be at any given moment, on any given subject, on any capricious whim. NOT GOOD.
  • SCOTUS is as a girl? Allowed to change her mind and rules at whim?
  • Before I continue, I want to stress that I am not advocating the use of any drug. But I believe in our Constitution, and I think we need to return to the idea of strictly following the supreme law of the land. The Constitution was not written to give the People rights. Those come to us from God. The Constitution was written so that we, the People, could delegate certain limited powers to our federal government, and to prohibit that government from exercising powers not granted to it by the Constitution. [Note: This commenter was NOT me]
  • The ferragummit can tell you what plants you can grow in your back yard, and if you defy them, they can throw you in prison. Reeks of Tyranny to me. They can overrule God!
  • Gun grabbers use the EXACT same logic in pushing federal bans on firearms.
In other news, Satan was spotted in downtown Kansas City, clasping a Bible and loudly proclaiming that he was accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and no longer was going to be a bad guy, while George W. Bush announced that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and that he was pulling out all U.S. troops in favor of U.N. peacekeepers within the next six weeks and providing the people of Iraq with $50 billion in reparations within the next two years. Err... uhm... well, okay, no. But hey, if it's possible for Clarence Thomas and Freepers to make sense, it COULD happen, right?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 6/07/2005 12:46:00 PM  


As disturbing as it is to me to have to agree with Clarence Thomas on anything, I'm glad that he has expressed these opinions in his dissent. After all, if if this ridiculous law actually gets through Congress, the Supreme Court is going to have to overturn it. At least we know there's one vote to overturn; now how about the other four?
# posted by Pope Horatio Tyrannosaurus Nixon Rex : 7/6/05 2:15 PM  

Yes, I saw that law on your web site. I was planning to mention it as part of my article on the Supreme Court ruling, but then I wandered by to see what my fellow Freepers thought and, well, my jaw hit the floor... Freepers? Clarence Thomas? Making sense? God forbid, the Apocolypse IS at hand! (For another sign of the Apocalypse -- Apple is going Intel!).
# posted by BadTux : 7/6/05 2:39 PM  

What we're going for at the moment in the US is neither conservativism nor liberalism. It's fascism.
# posted by zenyenta : 8/6/05 3:44 AM  

William F. Buckley has been touting decriminalization of marijuana for decades, the old stoner.
# posted by DBK : 8/6/05 5:31 AM  

Ah, guys, are you actually suggesting you agree with the Freepers that "state's rights" should always trump Congressional law?

At the moment, many states, like my own, have Democratic controlled legislatures and any _advance_ of Federal power over state law will probably make things worse here. But in general all manner of social progress has occured more when the nation as a whole accepts this or that proposition than when it is a matter variously decided in this or that state. The United States is not actually a confederation of 50 soveriegn republics, it is a single nation which for reasons of its historical constitution chooses to devolve much governmental power to semiautonous subdivisions. But "state's rights" are far more effectively a tool of reaction than progress. The thing to do (if it is possible to overwhem corruption in the voting process, or put a stop to it first) is to get control of Congress, not to try to take our individual state's marbles and "go home."

Historically, SCOTUS and other branches of the guvmint have whored out to corporate power since these companies began to consolidate themselves. The Supremes have twisted themselves around to justify whatever gratifies this ruling class, blithely contradicting themselves as they see fit. Thus, back in 2001 or so they "found" as today that states had no rights to transfer marijuana from a proscribed to a medically regulated category--but in the same session, they also found that state's rights nullified key sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act, so that while private entities were still bound by ADA state governments were not at all.

Back in the Gilded Age which Karl Rove and Grover Norquist are nostalgic for, the Supremes nullified the clear intent of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, to empower Uncle Sam to regulate corporate monopolies. Their grounds was not state's rights (for when individual states had tried to regulate railroads in their own territory, the Supremes had found this violated the same interstate commerce clauses reserving such regulation for Congress that we have seen upheld today) but that it violated the 14th Amendment. The Reconstruction Amendments as interpreted by the Supremes then did not guarantee the rights of citizens regardless of race as they were written to do, no, because in Plessy v Fergusson and other rulings they opened the door to Jim Crow by "separate but equal" and such doctrines--but they did guarantee the rights of _property_ the same sacred consideration as (white male) people were entitled to. Thus the Anti-Trust act could not regulate railroads and other monopolies--but it _could_ be used to stamp out labor unions since _they_ organized monopolies that violated rights without having the rights the court granted corporations!

The lesson here is that it is all about power, not about clever constitutional arrangements. The thing to do is get the power that can elect a Congress that makes rational decisions. If we can't do that, corporate private power can just as well, perhaps even better, buy majorities in 50 legislatures as it can buy half of 435 Congress members. Conversely if liberal moderation can prevail in the "blue" states--and for that matter overwhelming majorities presumably including many otherwise reactionary people vote for legalizing medical marijuana in many states both "blue" and "red," then it should be possible to make Congress respond to the issue on a national scale, and to punish any party that rams through an ideological position so at variance with the will of the people.

The fact that we have so little of that kind of balance suggests to me that Congressional seats are not truly responsive to the actual majorities in many places and we can all think of many reasons this might be so, including rampant corruption of the electoral process. Clearly "state's rights" would tend to make it more difficult to cure that kind of disease, and in fact accounts for very much of the reactionary wing's lock on Federal power. The problem is not the Federal government as such then but that all government is strategically taken over by a criminal movement with an agenda.

In the short run, Thomas and Rehnquist's logic would protect the medical marijuana users in a few venues, but their side has a plan to put a stop to that too. It might be done in a purely "states-rights" way and in fact I see Gov Schwarzenegger moving to undercut the Democrats by election stealing under his handpicked Secretary of State--look for an _amazing_ realignment of California voters in our next elections with new Diebold machines.
# posted by Mark H. Foxwell : 11/6/05 1:59 PM  

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