Clarence Thomas, most brilliant Justice
Thomas has been on a tear lately, making himself stand out as the true thinker on the Court and relegating Scalia to the role of ideaological hack.
A few months ago, the Supreme Court decided Gonzales v. Raich in which the majority held (with Scalia being part of the majority) that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) gave a regulatory agency the power to overrule a state’s decriminalizaton of marijuana for medical purposes.
Thomas dissented based on ennumerated powers issues. He said that growing marijuana for personal use was an intrastate issue and outside the reach of the interstate commerce clause.
Today, Thomas dissents in Gonzales v. Oregon in which the Supreme Court ruled that the CSA does not grant the authority to prohibit doctors from prescribing medicine for suicide purposes if state law permits it.
Has Thomas somehow flip-flopped on the issues? Not at all! If you read Thomas’ dissent, it’s clear that he’s dissenting in order to call out the hypocrisy of the majority who interpret the CSA based on their idealogical whim and not on sound legal principles. Basically he’s saying to the majority, “hey you morons, you decided in Raich that that the CSA gives the government power to do whatever it wants with regards to regulating drugs, you’re a bunch of hypocrites to suddenly change your mind here. I’m just agreeing with your first dumb decision because of stare decisis.”
The takeaway? Stare decisis doesn’t matter for jack with this court.