Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”     Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson,    West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943

February 5, 2009

A Tenth Amendment victory?

by Jason Pye

This may be the only time that President Obama doesn’t try to undermine the sovereignty of individual states granted by the Tenth Amendment, but I’ll take it:

Drug Enforcement Administration agents this week raided four medical marijuana shops in California, contrary to President Obama’s campaign promises to stop the raids.

The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers.

“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

Medical use of marijuana is legal under the law in California and a dozen other states, but the federal government under President Bush, bolstered by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, argued that federal interests trumped state law.

Unfortunately, people like Charles Lynch (his story has been covered by Reason) are facing jail time for operating legally under California state law, but against federal laws (Lynch was convicted on federal charges).

Another point to be made is that Obama actually shares common ground some of the “conservative” members of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of state sovereignty in Gonzales v. Raich. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissent, “Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other States to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens.”

The Democrat is more for “state’s rights” (I don’t like that term) than his Republican predecessor. Who would of bet on that?

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3 Comments

  1. The Democrat is more for “state’s rights” (I don’t like that term) than his Republican predecessor. Who would of bet on that?

    Yeah, I prefer to call it “State’s Powers”.

    Sadly, I can’t bet on any stance for the bulk of the Republican Party in its current incarnation. I guess we’d have to ask Joe the Plumber what they say they stand for now. If they ever actually take action towards limited government again, I might bet on them again.

    And though I often rail against President Obama’s economic positions, I want to go on record as supporting him on this. I’ll take any progress towards freedom I can get these days. Of course I have to add the small caveat that this is simply a promise, not an actual deed. But President Obama seems to be starting with follow-through in other areas, so I have hope.

    I’m sure he’d be happy to hear that.

    Now if I could just hope for less of a train wreck on “economic solutions”…

    Comment by Akston — February 5, 2009 @ 9:01 pm
  2. Funny how it doesn’t note that the raids were actually a Clinton policy holdover; or that in fact most of the senior officials in the DEA are Clinton era appointees as well.

    Doesn’t fit the narrative I guess.

    Comment by Chris — February 5, 2009 @ 11:42 pm
  3. Will Obama pardon all the people arrested under federal charges in these states since 1/20/09?
    If the head of the DEA needs to be replaced before the president bothers ordering them to “stand down”, he could at LEAST issue pardons for the people caught up in the in-between time period.

    Comment by Tom G — February 6, 2009 @ 6:53 am

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