Difficult Case, Right Decision

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

Difficult Case, Right Decision


Byline: Bruce Fein, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

By a 6-3 majority in Gonzales v. Raich (June 6, 2005), the Supreme Court sustained the power of Congress to prohibit the home cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal use. In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas maintained the majority had crowned Congress with omnipotence under the Commerce Clause and reduced states to wards of the federal government contrary to the Founding Fathers.

Disputing Thomas, Justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia, in majority and concurring opinions, respectively, insisted Congress had reasonably concluded a blanket marijuana prohibition was needed to prevent local seepages into a booming (albeit illegal) interstate drug market.

Justices Stevens and Scalia were more persuasive. The constitutional remedy for a blunderbuss congressional antidrug crusade is more speech and statutory amendments, not a manufactured Supreme Court decree.

Article I, section 3 of the Constitution endows Congress with power "To regulate Commerce ... among the several States." Article I, section 8, clause 18 authorizes Congress to enact laws "necessary and proper" to effectuate or vindicate its regulation of interstate commerce. As Chief Justice John Marshall explained in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), the "Necessary and Proper" Clause does not require strict necessity or indispensability, but only helpfulness in advancing a legitimate constitutional objective: "[W]e think that the sound construction of the Constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion, with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it."

The Commerce Clause has been regularly brandished to attack moral evils by denying the channels of interstate commerce as means of facilitation. In Hoke v. United States (1913), the court upheld the power of Congress to suppress the white slave trade by making criminal the knowing transportation of a woman or girl in interstate commerce for the purpose of "prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose."

A congressional ban on the use of interstate commerce to conduct lotteries was found irreproachable in the Lottery Case (1903). And Congress used the Commerce Clause to outlaw racial discrimination in any place of public accommodation serving transient guests or purchasing products that moved in interstate commerce in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964) and Katzenbach v. McClung (1964). The Raich litigation similarly stemmed from the longstanding national "war on drugs" launched by President Nixon.

Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to curtail drug abuse and to suppress illicit trafficking in controlled substances, including marijuana. It was classified as a Schedule I drug because of its high potential for abuse and the lack of any accepted medical use. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Difficult Case, Right Decision
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.