Skip to comments.Ron Paul: Legalizing Marijuana Is a State's Constitutional Right
Posted on 12/14/2011 3:36:46 AM PST by Yosemitest
Ron Paul recently told all 23 members of Air America's listening audience that he is strongly in support of state sovereignty concerning the legalization of the sticky icky pot weed…
He said that he believes that the U.S. Constitution gives the fifty states the right to legalize hemp production or marijuana. He said the issue was a matter of personal liberty but added that drug users should not be entitled to government-funded treatment if they abuse legalized drugs.
Not in a free market America, they shouldn't. That would make them a burden on society. Instead, they should seek treatment on reality television, where their struggles can be put to good use entertaining fellow drug users.
"If drugs are legal and people misuse them, then they do it at their own risk," he said. Bottom line, said Paul: "I do trust individuals to make their own decisions."
And that's when everybody listening to him realized that Ron Paul has never met anybody who has ever been on drugs ever.
I'm in favor of legalizing — or at least regulating — a lot of drugs, particularly marijuana. But I won't even trust my pothead friends to make decisions concerning the CD player most of the time.*
Why not?.. in some States alcohol is manipulated by county.. some county’s have none.. others a little, others don’t care..
The marijuana trade affects interstate commerce, just like the health insurance trade. That’s why Congress has the power to regulate both.
The weed should be legal,But Ron..I don’t think so..too bad other candidates are not willing to use this issue as well..wuuuuusies...
Ron Paul is right.
Even if it was legal, what company would want to engage in its manufacture or distribution? The way the govt went after tobacco companies should be fair warning.
Wow, That statement can apply to anything and invites the federal government to regulate EVERYTHING.
Yep. The SC has already set the precedent in Gonzales v. Raich that ANYTHING affects interstate commerce, even home-cultivation of a plant the trade in which is actually illegal between States. So a federal health insurance mandatte? That’s a slam dunk.
Exactly. But please, no whining when the SC upholds Obamacare’s insurance mandate.
No way in hell.
Both Silberman and Sutton cited Scalia's opinion in 2005 upholding strict federal regulation of marijuana in the case of Angel Raich, a Californian who used home-grown marijuana to relieve her pain. "If Congress could regulate Angel Raich when she grew marijuana on her property for self-consumption," Sutton wrote, "it is difficult to say Congress may not regulate the 50 million Americans who self-finance their medical care."
The States granted the national government the power to regulate commerce "among the several states", not the power to regulate anything that they can imagine might affect interstate commerce.
The "substantial effects" doctrine is a New Deal invention, not an application of an enumerated power as intended by the people who wrote and ratified the Constitution. It's become the primay means of expanding federal government power far beyond what was intended and authorized by the Constitution.
Ron Paul and Clarence Thomas get this right.
The precedent was Wickard v Filburn. And it was an absolute piece of crap.
Both of these criticisms are, at best, misplaced; at worst, they are just disingenuous.
At any rate, they are easily answerable.
Lets begin with the argument against purism. To this line, two replies are in the coming.
As for the second objection against the Tea Partiers rejection of those Republican candidates who eschew his values and convictions,
it can be dispensed with just as effortlessly as the first.
Every election seasonand at no time more so than this past seasonRepublicans pledge to reform Washington, trim down the federal government, and so forth.
Once, however, they get elected and they conduct themselves with none of the confidence and enthusiasm with which they expressed themselves on the campaign trail,
those who placed them in office are treated to one lecture after the other on the need for compromise and patience.
Well, when the Tea Partiers impatience with establishment Republican candidates intimates a Democratic victory,
he can use this same line of reasoning against his Republican critics.
My dislike for the Democratic Party is second to none, he can insist.
But in order to advance in the long run my conservative or Constitutionalist values, it may be necessary to compromise some in the short term.
Are you kidding? The war on drugs is a total disaster and failure.
The commerce (commie) clause does NOT give the federal government the right to regulate commerce between the People. That is an invention of the supreme black robed terrorists also known as the supreme court (http://blackrobedterrorists.com). The words “The People” are not found in the commie clause, so how can it apply to the “People”. When the Constitution was written, there was three distinct bodies mentioned. The federal government, the States, and the People. The commie clause says that congress can regulate commerce between the “States”, that’s with a capital “S”. It was meant to give congress the power to be the referee if a trade war started between two or more states. It was NOT intended to give congress an out from the enumerated powers outlined in the Constitution!
They know that. They're counting on you being so terrified by marijuana that you'll go along with it.
Wickard v. Filburn at least involved a product actually traded between the States, although it certainly laid the foundation for Gonzales v. Raich.
But the real point is this: Americans are children, incapable of consistent thought. If we like the law, then we say Congress has the power. If we don’t, they we say Congress doesn’t. Principals? None in sight.
"Please federal government - save us from that evil weed".
Bottom line...if one thinks that the Bill of Rights gives the Federal government the right to regulate marijuana - that person is NOT a conservative .
They are really just a hypocrites who are MORE THAN HAPPY to use fascism when it suits their purposes.
For me, people like that are WORSE than liberals.
Au contraire. The Commerce Clause, indeed, the entire Constitution, means what 5 out of 9 lifetime political appointees say it means. And THAT was a neat trick pulled off by the Founding Fathers.
(And spare me the woulda, shoulda, couldas - that’s the reality).
Interstate commerce clause again?
A good deal of pot has been grown in a nearby county and sold locally, none goes interstate.
Even if we had those laws, the first time they lined up a lily white kid from the Main Line against the wall for selling pot to his college friends, they’d be repealed.
So in your opinion, which of the two got it right on the Commerce Clause... Scalia or Thomas?
Scalia: ...the authority to enact laws necessary and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce is not limited to laws governing intrastate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. 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. --J. Scalia, concurring in Gonzales v Raich
Thomas: 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.
--J. Thomas, dissenting in Gonzales v Raich
Ron Paul is correct. If someone desires to abuse their body by using marijuana, then they have every right to do so. It’s not like our laws are going to stop them. In fact, we are not winning this war on drugs. Legalizing, taxing and educating people on drugs, like they do with alcohol and tobacco, is the way to do it. Most Americans are smart enough to avoid drugs...we don’t need the government to tell us what’s good or bad for us.
Actually, libertines are worse than liberals.
Speak for yourself. The principle here is the proper means by which the US Constitution should be interpreted by the Court, and applied by our representatives in Congress.
You either have an enduring document - something with a fixed meaning that remains unchanged unless and until it's altered by the process of amendment, or you have some ephemeral something that means whatever you think it ought to mean today.
It's not that hard.
I don’t know how anyone can read Scalia’s comments, which is now the Law of the Land, and not know that Obamacare’s health insurance mandate is Constitutional.
I remember when some States had a life sentence for possession of a single marijuana cigarette, Texas among them. It didnt slow the popularity of pot.
No it’s not that hard. We have an ephemeral something that means whatever they say it means. You know our history, how can you say otherwise? Not what we were MEANT to have, or what you THINK we should have, but what we ACTUALLY have.
Decades and decades (indeed, the entire lifespan of our Nation) trending in one direction: An all powerful Federal Government. I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s the reality. Better to know what the playing field really is, and adjust your expecations accordingly.
I read Joseph Story's comments:
Here's an excerpt:
"The question comes to this, whether a power, exclusively for the regulation of commerce, is a power for the regulation of manufactures? The statement of such a question would seem to involve its own answer. Can a power, granted for one purpose, be transferred to another? If it can, where is the limitation in the constitution? Are not commerce and manufactures as distinct, as commerce and agriculture? If they are, how can a power to regulate one arise from a power to regulate the other? It is true, that commerce and manufactures are, or may be, intimately connected with each other. A regulation of one may injuriously or beneficially affect the other. But that is not the point in controversy. It is, whether congress has a right to regulate that, which is not committed to it, under a power, which is committed to it, simply because there is, or may be an intimate connexion between the powers. If this were admitted, the enumeration of the powers of congress would be wholly unnecessary and nugatory. Agriculture, colonies, capital, machinery, the wages of labour, the profits of stock, the rents of land, the punctual performance of contracts, and the diffusion of knowledge would all be within the scope of the power; for all of them bear an intimate relation to commerce. The result would be, that the powers of congress would embrace the widest extent of legislative functions, to the utter demolition of all constitutional boundaries between the state and national governments.
That's how I know Scalia is wrong.
So much for that damn const right?
Yes, Scalia is wrong. And yet it’s the Law of the Land. And will be applied in every case of the like that comes before the Court. What are you going to about it? Not a damn thing.
One of the myths of our political system is that the
Supreme Court has the last word on the scope and meaning of federal law. But time
and time again, Congress has shown its dissatisfaction with Supreme Court
interpretations of laws it passes--by amending or re-enacting the legislation to
clarify its original intent and overrule a contrary Court construction.
The Supreme Court often insists that Congress cannot really "overrule"
its decisions on what a law means: The justices' interpretation has to be correct
since the Constitution gives final say to the highest court in the land. But
Congress certainly has the power to pass a new or revised law that "changes" or
"reverses" the meaning or scope of the law as interpreted by the Court, and the
legislative history of the new law usually states that it was intended to
"overrule" a specific Court decision.
Often the reversal is in highly technical areas, such as the statute of
limitations in securities-fraud cases, the jurisdiction of tribal courts on
Indian reservations, or the power of state courts to order denaturalization of
citizens. But in the last 20 years, a main target of congressional "overruling"
has been the Supreme Court's decisions in the area of civil rights.
In 1982, for example, Congress amended the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to
overrule a narrow Supreme Court holding in Mobile v. Bolden, a 1980 decision
that addressed whether intentional discrimination must be shown before the act
could be invoked. In 1988, Congress overruled another Supreme Court decision (in
the 1984 case Grove City College v. Bell) by passing the Civil Rights
Restoration Act, which broadened the coverage of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964. The legislative history of that law specifically recited that "certain
aspects of recent decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court have unduly
narrowed or cast doubt upon" a number of federal civil rights statutes and that
"legislative action is necessary to restore the prior consistent and
long-standing executive branch interpretations" of those laws.
And in 1991, Congress passed a broad, new Civil Rights Act that specifically
reversed no fewer than five Supreme Court cases decided in 1989--decisions that
severely restricted and limited workers' rights under federal antidiscrimination
laws. Led by Massachusetts Democrat Edward Kennedy in the Senate and New York
Republican Hamilton Fish, Jr., in the House, Congress acted to undo those
rulings, as well as make other changes to federal law that strengthened the
weapons available to workers against discrimination. Despite partisan contention
over the language of certain provisions (which led to last-minute-compromise
language), President George Bush the elder supported the changes. The new law
recited in its preamble that its purpose was "to respond to recent decisions of
the Supreme Court by expanding the scope of relevant civil rights statutes in
order to provide adequate protection to victims of discrimination."
Given the current supreme Court's track record in civil rights
cases, there can be no doubt that congressional remediation is again necessary.
In a series of cases over the past two years, the Court has been giving narrow
readings to various federal civil rights laws. And once again, an attentive
Congress can and should overrule the Court's decisions if the legislators care
about fairness in the operation of government and in the workplace.
The recent cases were decided by identical 5-4 votes: Three
conservative justices (William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas)
were joined by two centrists (Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy) to narrow
the reach of the laws at issue. Four liberal justices (John Paul Stevens, David
Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer) dissented in all of the cases,
four of which are described below.
Two of these cases are quite easy to correct. Congress can reverse the Supreme
Court's decision about attorney fees by simply amending the civil rights law to
provide that a litigant is considered a prevailing party entitled to fees if the
lawsuit "was a substantial factor" in remedial action taken by the government and
the suit brought by the plaintiff had a "substantial basis in fact and law." That
was the rule generally applied by the lower courts before the Supreme Court
The Sandoval rule can also be corrected by legislation. Congress could
amend Title VI to provide that "any person aggrieved by the violation of any
regulation issued pursuant to this act may bring a civil action in an appropriate
federal court. Such actions may include suits challenging any discriminatory
practice or policy that would be deemed unlawful if it has a disparate impact
upon persons protected by this title."
The Kimel and Garrett decisions are more difficult to attack. The
Supreme Court held that the 11th Amendment to the Constitution protects states
against suits in federal court for age or disabilities discrimination by their
employees. Although Congress cannot overrule a constitutional determination made
by the Court, it can condition federal financial assistance on state adherence to
federal requirements. In 1987 the Supreme Court held in South Dakota v. Dole
(a 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice Rehnquist, in which Justice Scalia
joined) that Congress could insist that South Dakota increase the minimum
drinking age to 21 as a condition of obtaining federal highway funds. In other
words, while Congress cannot force states to do its bidding, it in effect may
bribe them to follow federal requirements.
Thus Congress could condition federal grants under Medicaid, Medicare, or the
Social Security Act on the states' surrendering their 11th Amendment immunity
under the federal acts banning discrimination based on age and disability. If a
state wished to obtain federal funds under various social-welfare provisions, it
would have to accede to the U.S. antidiscrimination laws and waive its immunity
from being sued by its employees in federal court. Indeed, the 1986 Civil Rights
Remedies Equalization Amendment specifically declared that Congress intended for
states to waive their 11th Amendment immunity in order to receive federal
Congress could use the same device to overrule another recent Supreme Court
decision: last year's 5-4 holding in United States v. Morrison that the
civil-remedy provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 are
unconstitutional. The majority held that the law exceeded congressional power
under the Constitution's commerce clause--the first time a federal law had been
invalidated on that basis since 1936. But Congress can counter the Court's action
by ensuring that such civil remedies are available to victims of gender-motivated
acts of violence through state courts. How? By making the federal funds that are
available through Medicare or Social Security programs contingent on a state's
provision of such remedies.
In 1991, Congress and the first President Bush acted courageously to overrule
manifestly narrow decisions of the Supreme Court that violated a national
consensus against discrimination by government or by employers. Now that the
Democrats have control of the Senate, they should make similar corrective
legislation one of their first objectives. And who knows? This President Bush
might even follow the lead of his father and endorse the changes.
Because I can. Because it's my duty and responsibility. Because I haven't given up. And I seriously wonder why someone who seems intent on giving up and encouraging everyone else to do the same is still here and allowed to keep on doing it.
I'm going to point out that it's wrong every chance I get. And I'm not going to back down because you don't like hearing it.
The marijuana trade affects interstate commerce, just like the health insurance trade. Thats why Congress has the power to regulate both.
Sure, that’s why only marijuana that’s transported across state lines is illegal. Oh wait.
Interstate commerce. Yup, that old saw that has been used to enslave us. I’m glad you approve.
How does marihuana “destroy everything in commerce”?
Alcohol and tobacco also “destroy health”. Should those be outlawed? If you are true to your nannystatism beliefs you will believe with the prohibitionists of the 20s.
I see Ron Paul surging above the other candidates, the lesser of ALL weevils.
I don’t approve, just pointing out the reality. The Federal healthcare mandate will be ruled Constitutional, using the same reasoning that held that Federal marijuana laws are Constitutional under the Commerce Clause. People who support the latter have no business bitching about the former. I will admit, though, that I do enjoy the squirming. I mean seriously, it’s as if some people think a hot stove will burn one hand, but not the other.
This is why Ron Paul is the only consistent conservative in the race.
I’m a retired 30 year cop. The drug war has caused a considerable decrease in our rights, our liberty and our privacy. It has cost the lives of innocent people, perverted the govt and the criminal justice system and turned police depts into militarized seize the money pimps. Your way is more tyranny.
Turn with me in your pocket Constitution to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3. Here you will find a sentence which many big government advocates have perverted to serve the slow creep of centralized power. This was never meant to be.
The Commerce Clause gives the Federal Government the limited power, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”
Now, the Progressives have contorted the meaning of this power to support everything from National Healthcare (Obamacare), to regulation of monopolies, price-fixing, wage regulation, and many other unconstitutional federal activities. Why are these things unconstitutional? Well, because the Commerce Clause was written for one defined reason.
The only purpose was to give the Federal Government the adequate power to ensure that commerce between the States was not interrupted by tariffs, quotas, or other taxes. Therefore, this means that New York can’t place a tax on goods that comes from Massachusetts or New Jersey. To regulate means that the Federal Government has the power to prevent State Government’s from engaging in trade wars and preventing free trade. The root meaning of regulate, is to keep regular, not to control, mandate, or even become involved in the process.
The Commerce Clause gives the Federal Government the job to protect free trade by preventing State Government’s from pandering to special interests who would benefit from interstate protectionism. How interesting that unions, businesses, and others now use the Commerce Clause for the purpose of mandating that resources be diverted to their businesses.
No place in the Constitution is there power given to the Federal Government that would support the idea that the Founder’s intended for such massive expansion and ambiguity. And that’s the truth about the Commerce Clause.
The Constitution is defined and simple. Anyone can understand it, and that’s what the Founder’s wanted.
Remember, only 20 powers are given to the Federal Government (Article 1 Section 8). Take a minute and think about all the things that government now does, make a list, then read the Constitution and see if there is explicit power given for those programs and actions. Mark the ones where there is no Constitutional support. ...
No, the Commerce Clause is why ALL marijuana is illegal, whether it crosses State lines or not. That’s the point. Under Gonzales v. Raich, even non-interstate commerce can be regulated under the Commerce Clause. And that make the Commerce Clause the bad mofo that it is. It’s a virtual catch-all for anything the Feds want to do.
Ever wonder why that is? The Republicans like to mouth words about "original intent" when they talk about nominating SC justices, but can only come up with one candidate that comes anywhere near actually applying it when it comes time to legislate?
The "substantial effect doctrine" is not the Commerce Clause.
Once you understand that, you understand the Big Lie.