Republicans go ballistic and make up all manner of bovine excrement reasons to create unconstitutional laws that they claim supersede the federal authority. In fact, Republicans and conservatives are notorious for claiming they will never tolerate anyone, much less the federal government telling them what to do because states’ rights. According to Republicans, it is up to each individual state to make up its own laws and it is why next to the “gun” amendment they embrace the 10th above all others.
Being the rank hypocrites they are, Republicans in two states are appealing to the United States Supreme Court to empower them to abolish another state’s rights by abolishing a law Republicans do not like. It is one of the greatest hypocritical actions of Nebraska and Oklahoma Republicans who not only believe that the 10th Amendment does not apply to Colorado, they demand that the Supreme Court give Oklahoma and Nebraska Republicans new “state rights” veto power over Colorado legislation. Last week, President Obama stepped up and urged the Supreme Court, Nebraska, and Oklahoma Republicans to “butt out” of Colorado’s business, particularly Colorado’s legal marijuana business.
The furor that has President Obama inserting himself into a pair of Republican states demanding Supreme Court authority to abolish a Democratic state’s law is, if nothing else, a golden opportunity to demonstrate what Republicans really think of state’s rights. Oh Nebraska and Oklahoma want “their” state’s rights, but now they want the nation’s High Court to expand “their” state’s rights to legally overturn another state’s law legalizing recreational marijuana. Of course it is a socially conservative issue, but instead of appealing to the Supreme Court on the grounds that conservative Nebraska and Oklahoma will not tolerate a neighboring progressive state on their borders to legislate for itself, they are lying by claiming that Colorado marijuana users are unfair.
The two Republican states also complain that Colorado pot users are making their prohibitionist policies very unpopular, and draining the two Republican state treasuries bone dry. Seriously, that is the crux of the lawsuit, and it is one President Obama and the U.S. Solicitor General (SG) claim does not belong at the Supreme Court.
Speaking for the Administration, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr filed a brief stating that for one thing, the Nebraska and Oklahoma Republicans have “At most, alleged that third-party lawbreakers are inflicting those injuries, and that Colorado’s legal regime makes it easier for them to do so.” Verrilli also reiterated that that the Supreme Court ruling on the case “would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court’s original jurisdiction.”
Verrilli’s brief reminded the High Court that Colorado’s pot law only allows people to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use. Stating the obvious, Verrilli said that there is no possible way “Such small quantities possessed across their state’s borders cause Nebraska or Oklahoma Republicans to suffer great loss or any serious injury in terms of law-enforcement funding or other expenditures.”
Of course the Republican states will not “suffer great loss or serious injury” because Colorado residents can possess an ounce of cannabis, or because Colorado is profiting from a sane piece of legislation; the Republican states’ arguments did not fool Colorado’s Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Coffman said that “Nebraska and Oklahoma Republicans only filed this case in an attempt to reach across their borders and selectively invalidate state laws with which they disagree.” It is, no matter how one looks at it, a Republican ploy to set a legal precedent expanding Republican-led state’s rights to control other states the same way they try to control the federal government and violate the Constitution with absurd socially conservative interpretations of the settled law.
A spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert concurred with Colorado’s Attorney General Coffman. Tvert said,
“This is a meritless and, quite frankly, ludicrous lawsuit. We hope the court will agree with the solicitor general that it’s not something it should be spending its time addressing. These states are literally trying to prevent Colorado from controlling marijuana within its own borders. If officials in Nebraska and Oklahoma want to have a prohibition-fueled marijuana free-for-all in their states, that’s their prerogative. But most Coloradans would prefer to see marijuana regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”
It is not just the Obama Administration, Colorado’s Attorney General, or drug law experts that believe the Nebraska-Oklahoma lawsuit is not suited for the High Court. A professor at Vanderbilt Law, and an expert on federalism and drug law, Robert Mikos said the Republicans prohibitionists’ lawsuit is blatantly inappropriate for the Supreme Court. Mikos said in yet another brief that,
“The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint should be denied because this is not an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction. Entertaining the type of dispute at issue here — essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate another state’s law would represent a substantially unwarranted expansion of this Court’s original jurisdiction.”
As an aside, one never hears about Democratic-led states going to the Supreme Court to demand abolition of Republican-led state laws allowing any madman unrestricted access to firearms, or to strike down “Wild West” laws allowing John Wayne acolytes to openly carry sidearms and assault weapons; likely because Democrats understand that state rights does not mean authority to control other states or abolish laws that Republicans pass.
This lawsuit should be a major story on mainstream media if for no other reason than to demonstrate to the American people both the rank hypocrisy of “state rights” Republicans, and more importantly; their desperate attempt to control another state by asking the Supreme Court to strike down a Colorado law. Remember, over the past few years religious and racist conservatives in Republican states have successfully appealed to the High Court’s conservative justices to both dismantle the religious clauses in the First Amendment and the Constitutionally-protected voting rights of African Americans; two unconscionable actions the High Court’s Republican justices were more than happy to impose on the entire nation for a couple of tyrannical Republican states.
This is also a continuing narrative revealing the Obama Administration’s mindset on, at least, relaxing the lunacy of criminalizing marijuana possession and use. Over the past year in particular, President Obama has made what are bold moves to give states leeway in controlling the weed according to the resident’s wishes, and more importantly, he issued orders to advance American medical research into cannabis’ effective use in the treatment and cure of various forms of cancer; something the United States government is promoting on its website. However, because the weed can kill cancer and relieve Americans’ suffering, and help Democratic states’ increase revenue and relieve budgets, it will likely continue to be a primary target of social conservative Republicans rage and lust to control every aspect of American society.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.