More on Gonzales v. Raich

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005 10:05 am by Neal

The Washington Post has this editorial today on the Supreme’s dangerous ruling in Gonzales v. Raich. It concludes,

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?

Such stakes explain why many conservative legal scholars such as former Reagan Assistant Attorney General Douglas Kmiec and former Bush Solicitor General Charles Fried urged the court to recognize that federal powers shouldn’t extend this far. But Justices Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, who voted to limit federal powers in Lopez and Morrison, appear to have retreated from putting any restraint on Commerce Clause-based regulation. This was not a good decision for anyone who believes there are Constitutional limits on the federal leviathan.

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