Oregon Suicide OK/California Med Marijuana Illegal—Go Figure


I am not a Supreme Court Justice (though if any more positions open up, I'd be happy to be considered), but on its face, it seems to me that the Court has contradicted itself with its decision in Gonzales v. Oregon. In its medical marijuana ruling in Gonzales v. Raich, the court declared that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gave the Feds the authority to prosecute people who prescribe, supply, or use marijuana to ease the nausea associated with cancer and AIDS treatments.

In an article back in October, I cited the argument of University of Redlands government professor Arthur Svenson, "If homegrown medical marijuana is in interstate commerce, then surely so too are the barbiturates, which are clearly commercial and move across state lines, patients use to end their lives."

Yet, according to the Associated Press:

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people trumped federal authority to regulate doctors. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting with the majority for the first time.

That means the administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to prosecute Oregon doctors who prescribe overdoses.

Allowing doctors to write scripts for medicines so that people can kill themselves is just fine, but prescribing medicines so that people can live more comfortably with grave illnesses is criminal. Subtle indeed are the ways of our nine justices.