« Ah, what better way... | Main | Howard Dean is right »

SCOTUS upholds assisted suicide

This is just fascinating. By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court has upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law. I think that's good news, as far as it goes, but it does pose some interesting questions.

First, why does state law win out here, after losing out in the Gonzales v. Raich medicinal marijuana ruling? Well, that's outcome-based jurisprudence for you, folks. I wouldn't waste too much time looking for consistency.

Second, Justice Clarence Thomas would seem to have flip-flopped as well, at least at first glance. He dissented in both Raich and Gonzales v. Oregon.

Thomas is currently my favorite justice on the bench -- not because he's always right (he's not) but because he's usually the justice most likely to recall from civics class that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments place limits on federal power.

So why did Thomas reject the notion that the Commerce Clause was insufficient basis for overturning California's medicinal marijuana law, but here found in favor of the feds? I decided to give Thomas the benefit of a doubt, at least until I could find a clue as to his reasoning. The results were fascinating. Check out this quote from Thomas's (separate) dissent.

Today this court concludes that the (Controlled Substances Act) is merely concerned with fighting 'drug abuse' and only insofar as that abuse leads to 'addiction or abnormal effects on the nervous system' ...

"While the scope of the (act) and the attorney general's power thereunder are sweeping, and perhaps troubling, such expansive federal legislation and broad grants of authority to administrative agencies are merely the inevitable and inexorable consequence of this court's Commerce Clause and separation-of-powers jurisprudence.

Wow! That makes it clear to me that Thomas has not changed his opinion one whit since his Raich dissent, in which he wrote

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.

In other words, Thomas seems to have used Raich as a precedent here, despite the fact that he still passionately objects to the decision. That's stare decisis, folks. Liberals are supposed to love it.

And I love the fact that Thomas found a way to bitch-slap the Court on Raich not once, but twice.

Forget Alito, Mr. President. Just give Clarence Thomas two votes.


Either that or he is Bush's puppet, doing his master's bidding.

Post a comment