Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A victory for States Rights...

In a 6-3 split decision (Case 04-623), the Supreme Court today ruled that the Federal Government cannot overrule Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law. This is a very good thing.

Former Attorney General Ashcroft used Federal drug laws to prevent Oregon doctors from using drugs to help those patients who wanted to end their lives. This decision voids his overreach and returns the decision to the individual states.

It’s so ironic; the same conservative mind-set that opposes Roe v Wade on the grounds that the voters in each state should be able to choose whether or not abortion is legal in their state then opposes these same voters when they say that the Federal Government has no standing in end-of-life decisions.

Conservatives and Liberals are very similar in this regard; they cite the Constitution when doing so advances their agenda but then do whatever they can to subvert it when it doesn’t advance their agenda.

The bad news in today’s decision was that the new guy on the job, Judge Roberts, voted to continue the Federal Government’s War on Drugs (which this decision is a part of). The even worse news is that Judge Thomas agreed with him. Judge Thomas is the only judge that I’ve seen who, in recent decisions, has cited the Constitution in his rulings, rather than precedent. I wish he had done so here – I’m quite confident that he can find no place in the Constitution authorizing the Federal Government’s disastrous War on Drugs.

The Pundits think that California and Vermont will now quickly pass Assisted Suicide laws similar to the one upheld in Oregon. These laws, along with the 11 states (and counting) who have approved some form of marijuana legalization (usually for medical purposes) are on the front line of trying to role back, at least in some limited way, the Federal Government’s War on Drugs. I hope that Illinois joins them soon.

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