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Good For the Tippler, Not for the Toker

Jun
6
2005

Maybe I’m missing something but didn’t the idea of “Liberal federalism” just take a hit? You know, the idea that the state can set their own (more liberal) laws, different from the feds, the idea that a lot of folks think will mean that same-sex marriages can become legal without a lot of political wailing and gnashing of teeth?
With the U.S. Supreme Court saying Monday that interstate commerce is interstate commerce, regardless if what’s being sold is legal or not, it seems to me that they haven’t left a lot of room for reconsideration on other issues that might be decided by the states. Like gay marriage. Or maybe even stem cell funding. Or, I dunno, dope smoking for sick folks. These things have become state issues because conservatives think state government is a better tactical arena for them (they’re right, by the way). Liberals like the states because they’ve gotten nowhere at the federal level on these issues.


The Supreme Court marijuana ruling is troublesome for a bunch of reasons. Everybody’s pretty tired of drug politics. It’s soooooooo 1970. But, some are looking to the future. There’s no doubt that the gay marriage question is headed to the Supremes. Just as there’s even less doubt that the California appellate court decision issue earlier this year was intended to rest as much on federal law – the discriminatory nature of state laws against certain types of unions – as on California’s prohibition on same-sex unions. Today’s dope ruling – which doesn’t seem to jibe with the court’s booze ruling a few weeks ago – goes against the idea that states can – or should – make their own rules. So states can’t keep people from buying wine out-of-state because that’s interstate commerce but they can keep folks from getting marijuana for medical purposes because that’s interstate commerce, too. Confusing, no? Somebody had a good lawyer in these cases and I’m thinking it wasn’t the pot heads.
The conservatives on the court – Justices Thomas, O’Conner and Rehnquist – said the states should decide the dope question. This is interesting. Are these good Republicans going to say the same thing on gay marriage?

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 6:52 PM | Permalink

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