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Luke T.
7th June 2005, 05:38 AM
Justices Rule U.S. Can Ban Medical Pot (http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-na-scotus7jun07,1,2513703.story?coll=la-health-medicine)

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the federal government's power to seize and destroy marijuana that is used as medicine by seriously ill patients, ruling that strict federal drug laws trump California's liberalized policy on pot.

The Constitution makes the laws of the United States the "supreme law of the land," and "if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail," Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court. It is up to Congress, he said, to change the law.

Federal drug agents, prosecutors and judges may arrest, try and punish those who grow or use marijuana, the court said, even in states where it is legal.

A House bill is pending, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), that would permit physicians to prescribe marijuana as medicine. But it has been rejected several times in the past, and its chances of becoming law are seen as slim.

Their lawyers argued that homegrown marijuana did not involve interstate commerce and therefore was beyond the authority of the federal government. They cited recent high court rulings that limited Congress' power on other matters.

In the past, Rehnquist has said there was a crucial difference between national and local matters, and that the court should limit federal officials from meddling in local affairs. In 1995, for example, he spoke for a 5-4 majority that struck down the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act on the theory that gun possession was not commerce and therefore was beyond Congress' authority to regulate.

"One need not have a degree in economics to understand why a nationwide exemption for the vast quantity of marijuana [or other drugs] locally cultivated for personal use … may have a substantial impact on the interstate market for this extraordinarily popular substance," Stevens wrote.

Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas dissented in Gonzales vs. Raich. They said the Constitution should be read to "protect historical spheres of state sovereignty from excessive federal encroachment."

Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy, who in the past have taken the side of states' rights, joined the court's liberal bloc — Justices Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer — in agreeing with the Bush administration's stand against the marijuana users.

How about that? The conservatives were in favor of protecting legal pot, and the liberals were against it.

The Central Scrutinizer
7th June 2005, 06:15 AM
Originally posted by Luke T.
How about that? The conservatives were in favor of protecting legal pot, and the liberals were against it.

It's a crazy mixed up world! :D

Charlie Monoxide
7th June 2005, 06:52 AM
My favorite quote on the side effects of using medical marijuana was heard on the CBC Radio "Quirks and Quarks" (damn entertaining weekly science radio show). The host of the show was interviewing a doctor who was studying the effects of medical marijuana on a number of ill people who were using it. One of his interviewees (patient using medical pot) had attested to efficacy of the marijuana to alleviate symptoms of MS (muscular schlerosis). When asked about any noticable side effects, the pot patient answered, "yes, happiness"

Charlie (better than a warm puppy?) Monoxide

thaiboxerken
7th June 2005, 07:41 AM
How about that? The conservatives were in favor of protecting legal pot, and the liberals were against it.

I don't think that's a very accurate observation, considering:

A House bill is pending, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), that would permit physicians to prescribe marijuana as medicine.

and

Bush administration's stand against the marijuana users.

crimresearch
7th June 2005, 07:50 AM
http://www.randi.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57913

Mark
7th June 2005, 08:06 AM
Given that it is the Bush Administration that is spearheading the anti-medical marijuana witch hunt, I find the comment that conservatives are for it and liberals are against it, to be a bit thick. Misleading at best.

Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer the horrid effects of nausea from chemo drugs (and I have) should be up in arms about this. My wife battled cancer for 6 years...and with over 19 surgeries, and intense pain, the part that made her want to give up at times was the nausea. If you haven't lived with it, you just have no idea.

The Bush Administration's position on this is immoral and indefensible. Morphine---basically heroin---is legal and medical marijuana is not. What else do you need to know?

Brown
7th June 2005, 09:29 AM
Cross-reference (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57913) to another thread on this topic.

There is a risk associated with relying upon reporters' analysis of Supreme Court decisions. The LA Times reporter was misleading (not necessarily intentionally) on some points.The Constitution makes the laws of the United States the "supreme law of the land," and "if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail," Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court.Not quite. The reporter's implication is that Justice Stevens quoted the Supremacy clause. He did not.

Further, the first and second sentences of the article (which by the journalistic "inverted pyramid" convention are usually deemed to be the most significant) suggest that the Supremacy clause was the key issue in the case. It was not. The key issue in the case centered around the Commerce Clause. (The Supremacy Clause issue was a side issue, and seemed to be mentioned principally in answer to Justice Thomas's dissent.) The article's discussion of the Commerce Clause is buried in the text and is not very detailed.Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy, who in the past have taken the side of states' rights, joined the court's liberal bloc... in agreeing with the Bush administration's stand against the marijuana users.Not quite. Justice Scalia agreed with the majority's result, but not with the majority's reasoning. He preferred a Commerce Clause analysis that was different from that of the majority. (Justice Scalia said his analysis was "if not inconsistent with that of the Court, at least more nuanced.") He did not join in the majority opinion.

I would also take issue with the reporter's notion that "liberals" and "conservatives"--with the exceptions of Justices Kennedy and Scalia--were "true to form" in connection with the reach of federal power. In more than one sense, the majority opinion is "conservative." The majority opinion, for example, applied long-standing legal principles, while the dissent preferred to break new legal ground. This case could be used to illustrate the folly associated with trying to analyze a judicial decision or a judge in terms of "liberal" or "conservative."

Luke T.
7th June 2005, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by thaiboxerken
I don't think that's a very accurate observation, considering:



Frank and Bush are not on the Supreme Court, and that was pretty plainly what I was referring to.

Luke T.
7th June 2005, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by Brown
I would also take issue with the reporter's notion that "liberals" and "conservatives"--with the exceptions of Justices Kennedy and Scalia--were "true to form" in connection with the reach of federal power. In more than one sense, the majority opinion is "conservative." The majority opinion, for example, applied long-standing legal principles, while the dissent preferred to break new legal ground. This case could be used to illustrate the folly associated with trying to analyze a judicial decision or a judge in terms of "liberal" or "conservative."

I would say the expansion of federal powers through the use of the Commerce Clause is hardly "conservative".

[edited to add that I looked to see if there was already a thread started on this topic before I began this one, and did not see yours. Sorry.]

Luke T.
7th June 2005, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Mark
Given that it is the Bush Administration that is spearheading the anti-medical marijuana witch hunt, I find the comment that conservatives are for it and liberals are against it, to be a bit thick. Misleading at best.

Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer the horrid effects of nausea from chemo drugs (and I have) should be up in arms about this.

I thought it was pretty clear that I meant the conservatives and liberals on the SCOTUS.

Anyway. Add another "conservative" (me) to the list of people who think medical marijuana should be legal. In fact, I believe the current state laws don't go far enough. I think it is profoundly stupid that a patient must grow their own drugs. Imagine if a diabetic had to raise sheep to make their own insulin.

thaiboxerken
7th June 2005, 11:05 AM
I thought it was pretty clear that I meant the conservatives and liberals on the SCOTUS.

It was not clear to several people. What's the relevance anyway?

Jocko
7th June 2005, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by thaiboxerken
It was not clear to several people. What's the relevance anyway?

Good point. Who give a flip about federal judges these days anyhow? It's not like they're in the news or anything. And it'll be decades at least before the balance of the SCOTUS will change with new appointments. :rolleyes:

Who could possibly care about relative liberalism or conservatism on that old dinosaur of an institution?

thaiboxerken
7th June 2005, 11:10 AM
Ok, Jockass. Instead of asking questions, could you provide an answer? What is the relevance in pointing out the conservatism and liberalism of the SCOTUS judges in this particular case?

Luke T.
7th June 2005, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by thaiboxerken
Ok, Jockass. Instead of asking questions, could you provide an answer? What is the relevance in pointing out the conservatism and liberalism of the SCOTUS judges in this particular case?

The intent of my mentioning the conservatism or liberalism of the judges was meant to point out the irony of the situation. There was some humor behind it and some folks are taking it way too seriously.

I would bet there are some sites which believe drugs should be legalized that are praising Justice Rehnquist today, and that would be funny, too.

Anyway, since Brown started his topic first, I think we should all move over there, okay?

Mark
7th June 2005, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by Luke T.
I thought it was pretty clear that I meant the conservatives and liberals on the SCOTUS.

Anyway. Add another "conservative" (me) to the list of people who think medical marijuana should be legal. In fact, I believe the current state laws don't go far enough. I think it is profoundly stupid that a patient must grow their own drugs. Imagine if a diabetic had to raise sheep to make their own insulin.

You've made a good point...this issue really does transcend political labels.

The Central Scrutinizer
7th June 2005, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by Luke T.
Anyway, since Brown started his topic first, I think we should all move over there, okay?

Why don't we smoke pot instead?