Skip to comments.False Federalism: In Gonzales v. Raich, itís the state thatís violating federalist principles.
Posted on 06/08/2005 4:19:52 PM PDT by Crackingham
Does Oregon have the constitutional right to force the United States government to permit state doctors to assist patient suicides with federally controlled substances (narcotics)? Or is the federal government entitled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to prevent these federally regulated drugs from being prescribed for lethal use regardless of state law? The Supreme Court will tell us soon in Gonzales v. Oregon, a case that will not only influence the course of the euthanasia and assisted-suicide debate, but will also profoundly impact the delicate balance of power between states rights and the overarching sovereignty of the federal government.
So far, court decisions have favored Oregon. Most recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oregons right to regulate medical practice within its borders prevents the federal government from punishing state doctors who prescribe federally controlled substances to end their terminally ill patients lives. Under this view, the federal government can punish doctors who prescribe lethal doses of controlled substances for use in assisted suicide in states where the act is illegal. But punishing Oregon doctors would violate the principle of federalism because assisted suicide has been explicitly made a proper medical practice under Oregon law.
I have argued previously in NRO that it is actually the other way around that Oregon is violating the principle of federalism by seeking to prevent the federal government from pursuing its own legitimate public policy. Now, this view has been substantially supported in the just-announced Gonzales v. Raich, in which the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the federal government is entitled to enforce the CSAs proscription of the use of marijuana even though California permits the drug to be possessed legally for medicinal purposes; even though the marijuana in question was clearly being used by California residents for such medicinal purposes; and even though the marijuana was unquestionably home-grown and exclusively used for in-home consumption.
Most of the issues dealt with in Raich involved arcane interpretations of the interstate commerce clause, a matter now unlikely to be crucial in deciding Gonzales v. Oregon. But the majority opinion, written (surprisingly) by Justice John Paul Stevens, also invoked the Constitutions Supremacy Clause as unambiguously providing that if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail.
As applied in Raich, this means that the federal government is entitled to enforce federal law against medical marijuana users even in the face of contrary state laws, a ruling clearly applicable to the assisted-suicide controversy. And if the Court found this to be true for medical marijuana which, after all, involves mere symptom relief it hardly seems likely that it would reach a drastically different conclusion regarding the prescription of more potent controlled substances with the intent to kill.
Touchy issue - but precendent usually trumps all. We shall see.
So the author feels that Californai and Oregon are violating Federalist principles by asserting their constitutional rights???
So the author feels that Californai and Oregon are violating Federalist principles....
Sadly I think the Tenth Amendment is dead. If my facts are right, Billy put the wooden stake in its heart when he killed what Reagan had accomplished for Federalism and States Rights.
The Commerce Clause was originally intended to be extremely narrow, as a way of preventing trade wars among the States. Even the judicial tyrants who now wield it as a federal power trump card attest to this. As long as we continue to pretend that the courts can amend the Constitution at will, we will be a nation ruled by men and not by laws, and this whole debate is pointless. The United States is no longer a nation ruled by law. The only public contest is making the men who rule our men rather than their men.
The federal government does NOT have a problem with Oregon's assisted suicide law -- that is a proper state function.
The federal government is simply saying not to use federally regulated drugs when assisting suicide.
No, it was killed before that by FDR's handpicked majority in the Wickard case (cited by the majority as justifying the extension of federal powers to everything under the sun). Reagan ramped up the WoD even though there is no Constitutional justification for Congress having such police powers.
I don't think he's "feeling" it; but rather, simply presenting case law.
No, it was killed before that by FDR's handpicked majority in the Wickard case.....
Yes, and I should have said "the final stake"...FDR, the grand father of American socialism, gave alot of things....akin to a case of VD.
This is exactly what the Tenth Amendment is all about, and someday we may get back to that point. But I suspected a while ago that this case wasn't going to be the one that started the process.
It was killed by the 14th Amendment.
"Proscription" means "to banish or outlaw."
In Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice Goldberg, in his consenting opinion, declared that ingesting a chemical, in this case a birth control pill, was a "fundamental" right, a right "retained by the people," protected by Amendment IX.
Alcohol, another chemical that free people can ingest, could only be banned by a constitutional amendment, not a federal law enforced by a congressional agency.
So, what has changed since then that allows the "powers of Congress," through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), to overrule, usurp, diminish, "deny or disparage" our rights, "retained by the people," protected by the Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1965?
Similar to the argument that Kalifornians have a state-protected right to self-defense but no right to keep and bear arms. They are expected to protect themselves from armed criminals with harsh words and stern warnings. That is, except for the top state officials for whose protection tax-payers pay millions per year.
With its initial implementation, yes. But the ratification of the 14th and 17th amendments paved the way to the destruction of that concept.
Actually, he said, "In reaching the conclusion that the right of marital privacy is protected, as being within the protected penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights, the Court refers to the Ninth Amendment, I add these words to emphasize the relevance of that Amendment to the Court's holding."
He said nothing about some right to ingest a chemical.
"Alcohol, another chemical that free people can ingest, could only be banned by a constitutional amendment, not a federal law enforced by a congressional agency."
An amendment was not necessary to ban alcohol. A federal statute would have sufficed.
"So, what has changed since then ..."
Do you have a problem with each state deciding how they want to live? Are you more comfortable with one set of laws that apply to every state?
Perhaps I should be asking you, "Do you believe in the concept of a "republic" and agree with its implementation in the US?"
Bump to that.
As soon as the federal government was empowered to protect citizens' rights in each state, it was all over. States were subjugated entirely to federal interpretations of whatever rights they gave their citizens, even if those rights were more expansive than the federal ones.
But this ruling certainly sets things back. As the WSJ said,
"Raich would appear to end the Lopez line of reasoning, since the two decisions don't seem reconcilable. If, as Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his majority concurrence, non-economic activities can be regulated so long as they are part of a "comprehensive scheme of regulation," there would appear to be no federal power the Commerce Clause couldn't theoretically justify.
And let no one be deluded that the democratic preference of America's largest state isn't being trampled here. We didn't support the California medical marijuana ballot initiative at issue in Raich. But a clear majority of Californians did. Just because an issue is "important" doesn't mean it should be a matter for federal law. Almost all homicide is regulated at the state level, and contentious issues like abortion rights are best handled not by judicial fiat but by democratic compromises in the 50 states. Who knows what further intrusions into the rights of local polities the Raich decision may one day be used to justify?"
I mean, do you agree with the concept of a "republic" in that its distinguishing feature is a constitution that defines the limits of the government within bounds?