March 21, 2016

"If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel."

Nebraska and Oklahoma said to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for permission to begin its litigation against Colorado in the country's highest (no pun intended) court — that is, to use the Court's original jurisdiction.
"The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014..."
The Court said no. That was the answer the federal government wanted. The Solicitor General argued that Colorado had not "directed or authorized" anyone to take marijuana over the state border. The states can still begin their litigation at the federal district court level.

Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, wrote a dissenting opinion. Thomas's opinion questions the Court's longstanding notion that its original jurisdiction is discretionary. The Constitution says "[i]n all Cases . . . in which a State shall be [a] Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction." Art. III, §2, cl. 2. Nothing in federal statutory law purports to create discretion. So Thomas would like some "reconsideration" of the "discretionary approach."

The present case, Nebraska v. Colorado, is "a suit brought by two States against another State, and thus presents an opportunity for us to reevaluate our discretionary approach to our original jurisdiction." Federal law "prohibits the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, and possession of marijuana," yet Colorado law is written to "legalize, regulate, and facilitate the recreational use of marijuana" Nebraska and Oklahoma, bordering states, say the traffic in marijuana has increased because Colorado has changed its law, so they have "alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another State."

But Justice Thomas evinces no enthusiasm for the claim: "Whatever the merit of the plaintiff States’ claims, we should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation." So there is your word.

67 comments:

n.n said...

Puff the hallucinating dragon is the least of our concerns.

Oso Negro said...

Rule of law! Suck it plebes!

Michael K said...

The public schools have not been making kids stupid fast enough. Colorado in the lead !

Virgil Hilts said...

Nebraska needs to starts its own prohibited-by-federal law business. The first Autobahn in the United States, using I-80 from Lincoln all the way to Colorado. 420 miles with prize money for first person to do it in under 140 minutes.

coupe said...

Oklahoma was kind of late to lotteries. It was not uncommon to see cars with Oklahoma plates in the big truck stops just over the borders, with hundreds of people playing the numbers games.

It was like the Chicago mob run wild. Al Capone was rolling in his grave.

Now the people are tired of gambling, so they want a cheap drug. They drive over the border, get it, and go back to their miserable fucking lives.

In Oklahoma we are confiscating so many cars and trucks that CarMax has to ship them to all the dealers in other states after the auction.

I think we should keep the status quo. Everyone is making money on the peasants.

Sebastian said...

Shall, will, could, might: what difference, at this point, does it make?

Curious George said...

Remember when they played good football?

sydney said...

I feel bad for the states that neighbor Colorado. It isn't just the illegal commerce. I am sure they have to deal with impaired drivers, too, who come back after a marijuana run. Is there any data on motor vehicle accidents in neighboring states since the legalization of marijuana? Have they increased?

Michael K said...

New Hampshire has, or had when I lived there, smart politicians. The state liquor store, which got most of it business from Taxachusetts, was located just beyond the toll booth for I 95.

gadfly said...

@coupe said...
Now the people are tired of gambling, so they want a cheap drug. They drive over the border, get it, and go back to their miserable fucking lives.

Since when was $200 to $250 per oz cheap? And that doesn't include the trip into Colorado to make the purchase.

Todd said...

Actually, if we were to treat this the same as what is happening south of the border, the U.S. Gov would be supporting, enabling, and encouraging the illegal sales of guns to the criminal elements within Colorado hoping that the guns get used in crimes in other states in order to help push for tougher gun laws. They would need to come up with a new name though as "Fast and Furious" has been soiled...

David Begley said...

Virgil Hilts

Since I live in Nebraska I can testify that your idea is brilliant.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
The public schools have not been making kids stupid fast enough. Colorado in the lead !


Cite? Of course not.

Colorado HS graduation rates are up since legalizing marijuana

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Fernandinande said...

Colorado HS graduation rates are up since legalizing marijuana

The teachers are much more mellow now, and thus less likely to flunk the students...

Fred Drinkwater said...

Fernandinande:
Surely you don't think that HS students, almost all minors, are illegally consuming MJ and thus improving their school performance? It is more likely to be their teachers, too stoned to bother with accurate grading and what little discipline they are allowed to impose anymore.
Go sniff the air in the teachers lounge and the student restrooms, and report back.

Fred Drinkwater said...

IiB: I see great minds think alike.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

"Legalizing" marijuana, sanctuary cities, etc., are acts of "interposition" or "nullification," i.e. sedition.
Can states sue the Administration in Federal court for failing to see that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed?
Sue Congress for failing to impeach when the laws of the United States are not faithfully executed?

Fernandinande said...

sydney said...
Is there any data on motor vehicle accidents in neighboring states since the legalization of marijuana?


Yes, there is. Why don't you find it?

Have they increased?

They've probably decreased, but not decreased as much as in CO itself:

Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows
"While the number of miles Americans drive annually has leveled off nationally since the mid-2000s, the number of total miles traveled continues to go up in Colorado. If we were to measure by rate, then, the state would be at lows unseen in decades."

Fernandinande said...

Fred Drinkwater said...
Fernandinande:
Surely you don't think that HS students, almost all minors, are illegally consuming MJ and thus improving their school performance?


If you have data, lets see it - or are you one of those idiot stoners who expect someone else to do their homework for them?

Here's the horrible monster those imaginary stoned teachers have created:
In the 2012-2013 school year, 50 percent of fourth graders in Colorado scored at or above proficient on the NAEP math test, sixth highest in the nation.
"On average Colorado spent $8,647 per pupil in 2013, which ranked it 40th highest in the nation."

donald said...

The idea that adults can't put whatever the fuck they want in their bodies is despicable.

I personally am enjoying my once a month flight to Denver. I fly in, hit a dispensary, buy four vape cartridges, pen, stay in the Baymont by the airport (Sometimes I visit with a certain blogger for a beer), then fly back the next day.

Less than $300.00 for the whole trip and I'm a happy guy.

Thorley Winston said...

Why is the Solicitor General (who is supposed to represent the federal government) weighing in on case in which two States are suing another State? This seems like a case where they ought to decline to get involved in at all – unless of course they’re not merely exercising “prosecutorial discretion” and this is an attempt to rewrite federal law without going through Congress.

I Callahan said...

If you have data, lets see it - or are you one of those idiot stoners who expect someone else to do their homework for them?

Can't speak for Fred, but the way I see it, he was challenging YOUR veiled point.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Fernandinande said...Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows

I'm all for good news but let's not get carried away assuming correlation is causation, now.


donald said...Less than $300.00 for the whole trip and I'm a happy guy.
Dang, where're you buying your plane tickets, donald?! Do you buy a new pen every time? Are you ever worried about drug dogs at the airport to which you arrive?

Fernandinande said...

donald said...
The idea that adults can't put whatever the fuck they want in their bodies is despicable.


Despicable and barbaric. But you can see from the stupid and completely unsupported statement of some posters here that relentless (and mostly false) government propaganda has been pretty effective.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Fred Drinkwater said...

IiB: I see great minds think alike.

Apparently, so do ours...

eric said...

This is why I hope Trump wins and makes Chris Christie AG.

The assets seized by the federal government will be astronomical.

FullMoon said...

I watched original 'Reefer Madness" last week. Next to seized shipment of heroin, comes voice declaring MJ much more dangerous.
Together with stories in '60's and '70's of taking LSD and attempting to fly off tall buildings, government propaganda leads kids to disbelieve anything bad said about any drug. Latest is Zombie Spice or something.

n.n said...

We have not stopped them from murdering their own children and clinics from harvesting their remains. We have not stopped them from using women as womb banks or men as sperm depositors to compensate and normalize for their dysfunctional orientations. We have not stopped progressive morality that debases human life. It seems that the war on drugs is the least of our concerns and objectively less threatening to the viability and fitness of our civilization.

Fernandinande said...

I Callahan said...
Can't speak for Fred, but the way I see it, he was challenging YOUR veiled point.


Feel free to challenge it with data, not bullshit and hot air.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Whatever one thinks about the specific laws in question (drug laws, state vs. federal in this case) federalism problems where the national gov and state gov (or even the national gov and local govs) have opposing policies/laws are certainly strange and complicated greatly when the gov representatives on one side disagree with their own policy and don't want their side to win.

Titus said...

I haven't smoked pot in over 20 years.

My friends and I used to smoke pot in the 90's and then go out and dance-it was awesome.

I did X a few times-but then it made me sick. I tried coke a few times and hated it. I had mushrooms a few times and love it-laughed my ass off. Oh and I tried Ketamine or K which was the worst.

My friends still smoke pot a couple times a year- in Ogunquit and another time when we are in Ptown.

The shit scares me now though. I am afraid I would become all paranoid.

Michael said...

Don't know the science but wouldn't hire a doper. Should be legal, however. I am all for legalizing all psychotropoics but I would never knowingly hire a doper. The truth is it makes you stupider than you think it does.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Titus said...The shit scares me now though. I am afraid I would become all paranoid.

Anxiety about paranoia...there's got to be a word for that (probably a German one).

Fernandinande said...

Michael said...
Don't know the science but wouldn't hire a doper.


Science-free is the way to be!

CO ACT scores compared with nation, 5 year trend

Todd Roberson said...

OK and NE: why don't you legalize dope yourself?

FIFY.

See how easy that was?

n.n said...

Fernandinande:

What is the intersection between drug consumers and population represented by the academic and transportation statistics?

Carol said...

The idea that adults can't put whatever the fuck they want in their bodies is despicable.

Hear hear! I likes me some opiods. Can I haz oxycodone,pls.

Seriously. Why stop at pot.

Steven said...

And again the reason why I like Thomas so much pops up. The Constitution clearly says X, therefore the law is X. It doesn't matter if X is inconvenient, unwise, or objectionable; the Supreme Court is bound by the Constitution as it is written, not as it might wish it were written.

Todd said...

Carol said... [hush]​[hide comment]
The idea that adults can't put whatever the fuck they want in their bodies is despicable.

Hear hear! I likes me some opiods. Can I haz oxycodone,pls.

Seriously. Why stop at pot.

3/21/16, 3:42 PM


I agree. Consenting adults should be free to do as they wish with their own bodies. They should be able to put whatever they want into them. If they want to do meth at home, have at it. If they want to do H, ok fine. Do whatever you want. Just don't impact others. Get in an accident, on you. Rob or steal, on you. OD, on you. Shoot all your assets up your arm, on you. You are the adult and there should be a whole lot less of the government telling you as an adult what you can and can not do with other consenting adults and/or with your self.

Matt said...

So are Nebraska and Oklahoma really seeing significant harms to their sovereignty or do they just not like the idea of marijuana entering their state? I'm curious if there is an increase in accidents or abuse or robbery or whatever else they feel is associated with pot users. Alcohol is still legal and it's not better.

Sebastian said...

@Todd: "Do whatever you want. Just don't impact others" In the age of the welfare state and Obamacare, a pointless fantasy and therefore irrelevant. Unfortunately.

Steven said...

Seriously. Why stop at pot.

Yes, why?

I Callahan said...

Feel free to challenge it with data, not bullshit and hot air.

I don't think we're connecting here. YOU'RE the one who's making the assertion; it's up to you to back it up. Your hidden assertion was that there is a correlation between increased pot use and kids getting better grades.

Todd said...

Sebastian said...
@Todd: "Do whatever you want. Just don't impact others" In the age of the welfare state and Obamacare, a pointless fantasy and therefore irrelevant. Unfortunately.

3/21/16, 3:54 PM


Yes I know. I am a throw-back, a dinosaur, a relic from a far bygone era...

I Callahan said...

CO ACT scores compared with nation, 5 year trend

There you go again, making the same assertion.

I Callahan said...

relentless (and mostly false) government propaganda has been pretty effective.

Inhaling smoke from dried leaves, and leaving the smoke in your lungs for long periods of time, couldn't possibly be better for you on balance than not doing it. I don't need the government to tell me that - I only have to ponder it once, logically.

Disclaimer - this by NO MEANS is a statement that I think it should remain illegal, because I do not.

EDH said...

Titus said...
My friends still smoke pot a couple times a year- in Ogunquit and another time when we are in Ptown.

Andrew Sullivan got busted by "the Feds" for smoking pot on the National Seashore near Ptown.

Sullivan hired former congressman's brother to get him off easy.

Former congressman get three coveted MJ dispensary licenses from state; eventually resigns from dispensary in controversy.

But Sullivan's pro-Obama "conversion" didn't hurt.

Dismissed marijuana charge raises judge’s ire
US attorney gave blogger a reprieve
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/09/12/dismissed_marijuana_charge_raises_judges_ire/

But a federal judge says Sullivan did not deserve preferential treatment from prosecutors who dropped a marijuana possession charge after the journalist was recently caught smoking a joint on a federally owned beach on Cape Cod.

In a strongly worded memorandum issued Thursday, US Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings said the decision by Acting US Attorney Michael K. Loucks to dismiss a federal misdemeanor possession charge against Sullivan flouted a “cardinal principle of our legal system’’ - that all persons stand equal before the law.

Three other defendants charged with the same offense had to appear before Collings the same day as Sullivan, the judge noted. But Sullivan’s case was the only one prosecutors did not pursue, out of concern that the $125 fine carried by the relatively minor offense could derail his US immigration application.

“It is quite apparent that Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others who have been charged with the same crime in similar circumstances,’’ Collings wrote in the 11-page memorandum, adding that prosecutors’ rationale for the dismissal was inadequate.

Collings added with obvious irritation that he had no power to order prosecutors to pursue the case, and granted their motion to dismiss it. The fact that he did, however, “does not require the Court to believe that the end result is a just one,’’ he wrote.

...a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office, said yesterday that Loucks had no comment on the matter.

Sullivan, 46, declined to comment in an e-mail. A self-described libertarian conservative, Sullivan is well known for his idiosyncratic views. Catholic and openly gay, he is a strong proponent of same-sex marriage and has denounced restrictions on medical marijuana in his Daily Dish blog on The Atlantic Online.

His lawyer, Robert M. Delahunt Jr. of Boston, also would not comment.

Collings’s ruling stems from an otherwise unremarkable event on the Cape Cod National Seashore on July 13.

Sullivan, who lives in Washington but owns a home in Provincetown, was stopped by a park ranger for smoking marijuana on the beach shortly before 3:45 p.m. When the ranger asked Sullivan if he had any other joints, the writer fished one out of his wallet and said, “I thought small amounts of marijuana were legal to have in Massachusetts,’’ according to court records.

Massachusetts voters approved a referendum in November that decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, but the change does not apply to federal property.

Fernandinande said...

@Volokh on this subject, someone commented "Texas cars were stopped north of the Red River and searched for Texas beer which exceeded Oklahoma's limit of 3.2% alcohol. Oklahoma made a killing off of the fines. No lawsuits. No state can control another because of purported law enforcement needs."

May I bring alcoholic beverages into Utah?
No. Under Utah law "alcoholic beverages" include all hard liquor, spirits, wine and beer. Beer and other malt beverage products that exceed 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4.0% by volume are considered "liquor"**, and beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% or less is defined as "beer".
Utah is a “control state”, and only the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) may lawfully have liquor products imported and shipped into Utah.


So Colorado (real) beer is quite popular in Utah.

**Utah DEPARTMENT OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL lies:
liquor 1. An alcoholic beverage made by distillation rather than by fermentation.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I never thought that anyone could make a claim that the original jurisdiction is discretionary.

LYNNDH said...

Disclaimers: I live in CO and I voted for the law. I have never smoked it nor tried any illegal drug.

I am a Republican/Libertarian almost 70 so I came of age during the Age of Aquarius. I voted for the law because I think that too much money and time went into busting people for a small quantity. I deemed it harassment and part of police stateism. Control it like booze. My biggest worry is if I decide to drive out of state and have the thugs - sorry I mean police - pull me over because of my CO license plates. There have been several stories (ok, un-validated) of drivers being pulled over, their cars dismantled looking for marijuana. That is just not right.

Chuck said...

It's really very funny, to think of Colorado's claim that it is just a little ol' western state, mindin' it's own business...

...and compare it to one of the historic cornerstone cases addressing Congressional powers under the commerce clause of Article I, Section 8. That would be Wickard v. Filburn, which involved a farmer named Roscoe Filburn who raised dairy cows and chickens on a 95-acre farm in Trotwood, Ohio. Filburn grew wheat on his acreage, which he used to feed his own cattle. But he ran afoul of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which limited the growing of wheat in a late-depression effort to stabilize wheat prices. The Act was passed by Congress pursuant to its power to regulate commerce between the states under Art. I, Sec. 8.

Filburn was accused of growing 23 acres of wheat instead of his allotted 11 acres. And Filburn responded by stating that he wasn't interfering with any sales of wheat in interstate commerce, because he wasn't selling any wheat at all, much less any interstate sales. He was just using the wheat he grew to feed his own dairy cows.

In the now-famous decision which every law student must learn, the Supreme Court held in favor of the federal power, saying essentially that Filburn's use of the wheat that he grew himself DID impact interstate commerce, because the wheat that he grew and fed to his cows was wheat that he would not be buying from the national marketplace. Congress' power to broadly regulate whole markets was thereby upheld, even against an Ohio farmer just mindin' his own business.

Wickard v. Filburn became the high-water mark of interstate commerce regulatory powers, with a retreat coming in the era of the Rhenquist and Roberts courts. They even mentioned Wickard with a bit of sarcasm in the ObamaCare case, NFIB v. Sebelius.

Fernandinande said...

n.n said...
Fernandinande:
What is the intersection between drug consumers and population represented by the academic and transportation statistics?


Why don't you tell us? Too drunk to use google, or what?

I Callahan said...
CO ACT scores compared with nation, 5 year trend
There you go again, making the same assertion.


There I went, providing data. Horrible, horrible data.

Your hidden assertion was that there is a correlation between increased pot use and kids getting better grades.

Actually, no. My non-hidden assertion was that Michael K had no basis for stupidly writing: "The public schools have not been making kids stupid fast enough" because graduation rates improved.

The other stupid assertion from yet another half-witted dweeb was that the teachers were stoned and let unqualified kids graduate, for some mysterious reason, hence the horrible, horrible data I provided on elementary school kids' performance on nationally standardized NAEP tests and on ACT scores for HS kids, which the teachers can't fudge.

Why don't you pick on their data-free and incorrect "hidden assertion"?

John Henry said...

Blogger sydney said...

I am sure they have to deal with impaired drivers, too, who come back after a marijuana run.

Is there any evidence that MJ impairs driving? Scientific studies like?

Perhaps a study that used US Govt grown MJ in controlled amounts? Perhaps a study that gave this to a group of drivers and then had them drive an obstacle course? Perhaps a study that then measured their levels of impairment with varying amounts of THC in their system? Perhaps a study designed and carried out by a university for the National Highway Transit Safety Agency (NHTSA)

Ever seen a study like that?

More important, ever seen a study like that shows that MJ does cause impairment?

John Henry

John Henry said...

I am curious why Nebraska thinks that CO is obligated to enforce a federal law.

Seems to me that their beef is with DC, not CO. DC is the one not enforcing the their law on this.

John Henry

Paul said...

Look at the logic. To say what is legal in one state, but not in another, and the offended state forces the offending state to stop manufacture of the offending item opens the door to banning guns, sex toys, certain prescription drugs, cars (California allows only certain compliant 'green' pollution emission cars to be sold in California), etc.

The courts were quite correct.

Tom said...

When can we get some constitutional conservatives who see the constitution as maximizing liberty? Please?

MikeR said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/03/21/supreme-court-zaps-massachusetts-stun-gun-opinion/
Crazy case. Convicting a woman for defending herself, using a _less_ lethal weapon.

jaed said...

Aiieee. The whole point of having a federal system is to provide for disparity between the laws of the various states within their areas of competence, and specifically their police powers. Otherwise the entire country would be required to have those stupid little "known to the State of California to cause cancer" stickers on the doors of every grocery store, and the wave of stupid from that measure along would drown us all.

As for "the Supreme Court is bound by the Constitution as it is written", I guess that doesn't apply to Article I, or can anyone show me anything that gives the federal government jurisdiction over marijuana consumption in the first place?

Eric said...

jaed,

Nebraska and Oklahoma have a reasonable position because pot is illegal under federal law. The root of the problem here is Congress does not have the authority, under the constitution, to make the possession of drugs illegal outside of federal facilities and the District of Columbia. The court foolishly granted this power to Congress and will be periodically forced to deal with the contradiction.

Gahrie said...

can anyone show me anything that gives the federal government jurisdiction over marijuana consumption in the first place?

I believe the justification is "regulating commerce".

n.n said...

Fernandinande:

You are asserting an outcome based on weak correlations, circumstantial evidence, and incomplete arguments. This is not science. It is statistics. It is an agenda in support of your special and peculiar interests. You bear the same burden of proof as the people with a competing thesis.

Bruce Hayden said...

Disclaimers: I live in CO and I voted for the law. I have never smoked it nor tried any illegal drug.

Agree with the former (voted for legalization in CO), but was in college during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and so cannot say that I never smoked the stuff. Just haven't done so in 3-4 decades. And, would vote for it again.

That is not to say that I see dangers with pot. In particular, I have seen the long term affects on multiple people whom I know decently well. But, almost all of the people I knew in college back then who smoked pot in college, quit soon after graduation, and you really can't tell that they ever had smoked the stuff.

n.n said...

Fernandinande:

Perhaps you should know my position before you accuse me of imbibing or puffing. Perhaps another time.

jr565 said...

SPeaking of pot there's a new synthetic variety called Spice. Looks like a lot of fun:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3500937/Horror-movie-style-scenes-people-slump-stupefied-state-Tampa-spice-drug-use-spirals-control.html

Colorado should legalize that as soon as possible.

Fernandinande said...

n.n said...
Fernandinande:
Perhaps you should know my position before you accuse me of imbibing or puffing. Perhaps another time.M


I know your position - dorky moralistic jesus freak with a perverse obsession with abortion.

n.n said...
Fernandinande:
You are asserting an outcome based on weak correlations, circumstantial evidence, and incomplete arguments. This is not science. It is statistics. It is an agenda in support of your special and peculiar interests. You bear the same burden of proof as the people with a competing thesis.


Oh bullshit. You just don't like the fact that there's no real evidence of anything terrible happening after legalizing marijuana.

Harold said...

Michael K said...

New Hampshire has, or had when I lived there, smart politicians. The state liquor store, which got most of it business from Taxachusetts, was located just beyond the toll booth for I 95.
***************
And the toll booth locations are pretty much designed that you can't travel from MA to ME and bypass the tolls. But the vast majority of NH drivers can transit I-95 without running into a toll. I remember that from the time I spent stationed in ME. If it weren't totally unconstitutional, they would have erected a booth at the MA and ME state line and collected tolls only upon entering or leaving the state.