November 12, 2014

"Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions..."

"... the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said on Wednesday...."
Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted this month to allow the use of marijuana, boosting the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.

"I don't see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions," Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told reporters.

176 comments:

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Sluggerly.

wv: artheinu one

Indeed.

Michael K said...

All marijuana legalization does is create more stupid people to vote for Democrats. However, I don't care because those people are also less likely to bother to vote once they are stoned.

rehajm said...

Federal ones, either.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Fuck the UN. They seem to miss the whole point. It is the United States of America not the United Provinces of America. Our states are sovereign entities and can pass any laws they wish unless specifically forbidden by the US Constitution.

They are not subject to the UN's wishes.

Nor is the US, though it may have signed treaties to the contrary.

We are a sovereign collection of sovereign states and we can damn well pass our own laws legalizing or illegalizing anything we damn well please. That is not to say it is (or is not) a good idea. Just that it is OUR decision, not the UN's.

Fuck the UN.

John Henry

RecChief said...

you mean the left, who seeks to align with international conventions and laws at all times, is ignoring an international convention on something they like?

EDH said...

Stoners vs. "mushy-headed one-worlders".

cubanbob said...

"The U.S. out of the UN and the UN out of the US".
Could it be those whacky John Birchers were on to something?

RecChief said...

that it is OUR decision, not the UN's.

Fuck Yeah! 'Murica!!

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Just to be perfectly clear:


"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

10th Amendment to the US Constitution.

John Henry

traditionalguy said...

Do you mean when the US sponsors a UN Treaty supposedly to restrain the conduct of others that we are restraining our own conduct too?

Quick somebody ask Professor Gruber if that is right.

Tank said...

@John Henry

The 10th Amd was repealed ...

de facto.

You're gonna do what Mr. Zero and Mr. Ban Ki say, like it or not. Luckily, you're an old guy like me and we'll both be dead pretty soon. Ugly. Hey, we could meet in one of the doobie states and commiserate. The perfect idea for an Althouse meet up. The Althouse Doobie Retreat. BYOM.

AustinRoth said...

Screw international drug conventions.

I kind of like the idea of running our county based on the Constitution instead.

jimbino said...

What's worse than a fascist country? A treaty union of fascist countries. We would do better to associate with Chile, Uruguay and others who have lately begun to liberate their people.

Henry said...

"I don't see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions," Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told reporters.

Cry me a river.

Birkel said...

jimbino:
Or we could act more like Canada.

Why do Liberals forget about Canada so often these days? I remember when Canada was a great comparison because it had socialized medicine. Now, those pesky Canadians don't garner a hat tip because their conservative government is proving so much more successful than our illiberal federal government.

Oh, and fuck the U.N. I will pretend to give a shit about anything the U.N. says or does as soon as it starts to condemn the totalitarians in its midst.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Tank,

I agree with you that the the 10th Amendment is largely ignored by the Feds.

It has not been repealed though. It is merely sleeping awaiting a wakeup call from President Paul (or Palin, or Cruz or whoever).

This is one of the reasons I am such a big Obama supporter. He has done much to waken the country from its torpor and realize what has been happening under various Demmie and Demmie-Lite (A/K/A Republican)regimes for the past 75 years.

I like the idea of a Althouse doobie meetup. I've not had a joint since the 60's but it might be cool to try it one last time before I check out.

John Henry

Shanna said...

Our states are sovereign entities and can pass any laws they wish unless specifically forbidden by the US Constitution.

Damn straight.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Why is the US even part of the UN?

Under a Henry presidency, the US would withdraw and ask the UN to please remove to someplace more suitable. Lagos might be nice.

Ditto NATO

I have a hard time seeing how either serves the US interest.

John Henry

Ed said...

@AustinRoth,
your comment bring a point to mind.
These lefties that have been ignoring the constitution want international decree.
Suddenly then they will follow law?

Unknown said...

Maybe we (the U.S., or some subset) could become net exporters. Better than oil. Is there a marijuana oil?

mccullough said...

Alaska and Colorado aren't part of the UN.

Nonapod said...

Did this "anti-narcotics chief" character make similar noises when Argentina decriminalized drug possession in 2009?

Jane the Actuary said...

If the United States signs a treaty -- and these UN conventions have the force of a treaty, right? -- this becomes the law of the land. This is not a states' rights sort of thing. And it's not about the UN trying to boss us around. It's a committment that the US entered into and is now trying to back out of, without actually formally withdrawing.

tim in vermont said...

If the US is a signatory to a treaty, isn't that then considered part of the constitution as long as the treaty is in force?

Doesn't it take 60 Senators to approve a treaty? Isn't that why?

I guess the stoners were to busy being stoned to see that coming.

You can bet the NRA knows about treaties and keeps a close eye on them.

Birkel said...

Jane the Actuary:
On this point you are mistaken. The states entered no treaty. The federal government may not commandeer state assets to enforce federal law.

If the federal government wishes to enforce its treaty obligations, it may do so using federal assets.

Nonapod said...

It's a committment that the US entered into and is now trying to back out of, without actually formally withdrawing.

Tell that to some of the pieces of filth on the UN Council for Human Rights.

tim maguire said...

My first instinct is to ask, who cares what the UN thinks? My second is to realize that it is probably against UN rules because the United States insisted the UN adopt those rules.

Jane the Actuary said...

And the reason why anti-UN types are so insistent on not signing these multiple conventions on the rights of children, women, the disabled, etc., where corrupt dictatorships don't hesitate, is because we have historically believed that these are obligations to be taken seriously. But we did sign this one.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Jane, you may be right that a treaty is the law of the land. Not sure about that though.

A treaty does NOT require individual states to pass laws enforcing it. Or even maintain existing laws enforcing it.

States are free do do what they like.

If it is a federal law, it is up to the feds to enforce it.

Prof. Althouse: Might you care to weigh in on the enforceability of treaties under federal or state law?

John Henry

traditionalguy said...

Governments at base are raw only protection rackets. That was why the USA had to form its Constitution in 1789 in order to stop the confederation of 13 States from charging bribes to cross their borders or do business in the others.

The New World Order has the same raison d'etre. So UN treaties ratified in the Senate are enforced as US Law.

Of course this is a stealth opening for Obama and Jarrett's Destroy America Ideology to sneak restraints on the USA into US law. They are convinced we are too stupid to know better.

Big Mike said...

I disagree with marijuana legalization, but a Russian -- a freaking Russian! -- is going to tell what laws we can and can't pass???

traditionalguy said...

I believe the UN's most wanted treaty crafted to ensnare the USA will be about guns.

When it comes out in a Senate Investigation, that will be what was behind the Holder/Jarrett Fast and Furious policies.

Robert Cook said...

"Why is the US even part of the UN?"

Uh, the US was one of the original sponsors and founding nations of the UN, whose primary purpose is the prevention of war.

This doesn't stop us from ignoring the UN when it suits us, (look at all the wars we start, willy-nilly), any more than do our treaty obligations to the UN, which are the law of the land, per the constitution. We don't pay any attention to the constitution, either.

Robert Cook said...

"I disagree with marijuana legalization, but a Russian -- a freaking Russian! -- is going to tell what laws we can and can't pass???"

Why not? If we presume to lecture other nations on their behavior, why are they not free to respond in kind?

buster said...

As I understand it, a treaty between the United States and a foreign country (or association of countries, like the UN) has the force of a federal statute. The Constitution invalidates any state statute or provision of a state constitution to the extent that it conflicts with the federal constitution or federal statutes. A state can pass a conflicting law, but the courts will refuse to enforce it to the extent that is conflicting.

State laws that legalize marijuana conflict with federal statutes, but the federal government turns a blind eye. If it ever wants to enforce federal drug laws, it can.

n.n said...

Psychoactive drugs bring hallucinogenic dreams. Some people want to see visions dancing at the end of a joint. Professor Gruber is laughing in the wings, while Obama is chewing his gum... and loitering and littering. That said, wouldn't opium be the logical choice?

Hagar said...

However, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and yes, even California, are still states of the United States of America, and trafficking in marijuana is illegal unde the lawss of the United States of America.

buster said...

I see y point was made above by several commenters.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Hey Unctuous Nutjobs - your global warming and human rights stances disqualify you from being taken seriously on any issue.

So STFU.

Robert Cook said...

Jane, you may be right that a treaty is the law of the land. Not sure about that though.

As per the Constitution, it is.

Article VI, paragraph 2:

"This constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Hagar said...

And the USA is not only just one of the founding states of the UN; the UN is a renaming of the League of Nations, and both were invented here.
The United States is the founding nation.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Yes, Robert Cook, I know that the US, under FDR and others, was the primary force behind the founding of the UN.

That doesn't answer my question of what's in it for us.

That we founded the UN doesn't mean it was a good idea for us to do so or to continue being a member.

For some good arguments against, read about the arguments in the Senate in the 20's against the US being in the League of Nations. It was a bad idea then, it was a bad idea in the 40s and is a bad idea today.

John Henry

Scott M said...

Apparently Amsterdam isn't in line either, then?

Birkel said...

The point that too many fail to recognize is not whether treaties are the law of the land but rather about which political entity must enforce those laws. Federal law requires federal enforcement. If states forbid state and local enforcement, then those state assets MAY NOT be commandeered by the federal government.

Birkel said...

Treaties that abrogate the U.S. Constitution have no power within the U.S. The feds cannot enter a treaty that restricts speech or firearm ownership in contravention of the U.S. Constitution.

Similarly, the feds cannot enter a treaty, and have it enforced domestically, that purports to commandeer state and local law enforcement.

The feds may tie some, but not all, federal funding to enforcement to induce state and local compliance. But the feds cannot coerce state and local action.

South Dakota vs Dole
And
The Obamacare decision

Robert Cook said...

John Henry,

It suits our political and propaganda purposes to remain in the UN. Given that we freely ignore our legal obligations imposed by the UN charter, why is it a negative for us to remain?

Tank said...

Is this the same UN that invited the Brown Gang to speak?

The whole place is a cesspool.

Robert Cook said...

Birkel,

Whether you like it or not, the Federal government rules over the states, and will go to war to maintain that rule, as proven the century before last.

The federal government will allow the states to abrogate federal law only if and when it chooses to allow this, for whatever reasons may pertain. Don't fool yourself for a second that the federal government considers itself beholden to or trumped by any state laws.

Birkel said...

And now comes Robert Cook for the comedic relief.

Has anybody ever seen Cedarford and Robert Cook in the same room? Me neither.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook,

You have no ability to comprehend my statements. Stop trying, you purposefully obtuse jack ass.

Dave Schumann said...

It's almost like it's calculated to bring Republicans around.

"Gee I don't want drugs legalized. Get off my lawn you damn whippersnappers!"

"Good, that's what the UN wants too."

"The UN?! Bong hits 4 Bolton!"

Andy Krause said...

The Constitution cannot be amended by treaty no matter what the elites say. As a kicker the Bill of rights precedes the Constitution and cannot be cannot be abrogated by any Federal power. It is signed by individuals and vests its power in each of one of us.

Robert Cook said...

Laugh, Birkel, laugh; reality remains.

Also, you're hardly so profound or nuanced that your comments are in the least difficult to comprehend. You shouldn't flatter yourself so; it's unbecoming, and bad for you.

Robert Cook said...

Andy Krause: the Bill of Rights does not precede the Constitution; it consists of 10 amendments to the constitution.

As to whether or not the bill of rights can or cannot be abrogated by any Federal power...who's gonna stop them? Who has successfully stopped them so far?

Birkel said...

Robert Cook:

Please explain how my comments are not difficult to comprehend and yet you were unable to respond usefully.

Andy Krause said...

You're right Robert, I meant the Declaration of Independence. My bad.

Robert Cook said...

Birkel,

That you do not appreciate my responses does not mean they were not pertinent or useful.

Your likes and dislikes do not govern the reality outside yourself, lad.

Andy Krause said...

Robert,
Specifically the natural rights of individuals. I agree with you that Feds are unfettered and will stop at nothing involving power over the states. The answer to tyranny is
"to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,..."

Birkel said...

So, you have nothing to add. Excellent and well admitted.

Once again, federal law cannot commandeer local resouces. That you would suggest the federal response would be another Civil War is to reveal your contempt for the U.S. Constitution, the federal system and your enduring love for the consolidation of power.

Please, do reveal your inner Fascist.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise known as "change."

PatHMV said...

A fellow I used to work for was Jeanne Kirkpatrick's deputy when she was the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. There was a bit stink when we refused to let Yassir Arafat into the country to address the U.N. because, you know, he was a terrorist. The usual crowd was howling, and the U.N. threatened to move.

A reporter asked this fellow, Chuck Lichenstein, what he would do if the U.N. carried through its threat and decided to move to another country. He said:

"I'd help them pack, then stand on the dock and wave bye-bye!"

Skeptical Voter said...

The U.N. should let me know where to send my T.S. chit.

I'm not in favor of legalized marijuana.

I'm even less in favor of bossy pants bozos in the U.N. sticking their grubby little noses in where they don't belong.

Eustace Chilke said...

I invite all persons, domestic and otherwise, who want me to line up with international conventions to themselves line up and take turns kissing my ass. And never stop.

n.n said...

The foreign interest in American hallucinogenic drug consumption is two-fold: money and disruption. The global drug trade is highly profitable and is a principal funding source for numerous cartel and terrorist organizations.

There is also a concern that it will keep women and men barefoot, stoned, and in the lounge. Perhaps legalizing and taxing its production and consumption would reduce its redistributive effects. But its potency will not be diminished without removing social subsidies that sustain individual consumers.

Bruce Hayden said...

So, the federal government signed a treaty. The treaty is equivalent here to federal law, which also prevents pot smoking. If the feds want these laws enforced, then they can do so - just don't expect these states, or their law enforcement officers to help. Of course, the DEA, FBI, etc aren't going to, being more interested in meth labs and the like.

Notably, the feds can't force the states to pass specific laws. It can bribe them, as it routinely does with highway funds, and tried to do with PPACA. So, if the feds can't force the states to pass, or keep from repealing state laws, the UN is going to be even less successful, since it is riding on federal power, just as Congress has to, but at one step removed.

As far as I can see the only relevance to us of this treaty is that the US is somewhat constrained in its ability to dump its national pot laws. But that isn't happening any time soon anyway...

Robert Cook said...

"Once again, federal law cannot commandeer local resouces. That you would suggest the federal response would be another Civil War is to reveal your contempt for the U.S. Constitution, the federal system and your enduring love for the consolidation of power."

Birkel, please read for meaning. That I point out what the federal government will do (and has done) to enforce its power does not suggest that I agree with or favor such a response. Just as your likes and dislikes are trumped by reality, so are mine.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...
"Why is the US even part of the UN?"

Uh, the US was one of the original sponsors and founding nations of the UN, whose primary purpose is the prevention of war.


Robert, no! Don't start a post with "uh!" Undo, undo!!

Robert Cook said...

HoodlumDoodlum,

That's okay; it was a rhetorical "uh," which is considered acceptable usage.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook:
Your meaning is well understood. You suggest the federal government has the ability to commandeer the states through use of force up to and including a Civil War. You may pretend your love of the consolidation of power to the federal government does not lead you to enjoy that position if you like. I will not indulge your self-dillusion.

I, too, maintain a consistent position. The federal government has limited powers.

Your position leads to suffering and death. I wish you to receive both in full measure.

My position leads to freedom and wealth.

Roger Sweeny said...

If the Republicans want to show they believe in federalism, they can pass a law stating that possession and sale of marijuana is not contrary to federal law, where state law allows, and to the extent that state law allows.

They can also instruct the President to withdraw from any parts of treaties that such a law would be contrary to.

Since Democrats are probably more in favor of marijuana legalization than Republicans, this could even be a bipartisan thing.

David said...

Roger Sweeny said...
If the Republicans want to show they believe in federalism, they can pass a law stating that possession and sale of marijuana is not contrary to federal law, where state law allows, and to the extent that state law allows.


One more thing the Democrats didn't do when they had a chance.

Birkel said...

Roger Sweeney:
You imagine a world in which Democrats would devolve power to the states willingly. I wish that world existed.

Robert Cook said...

Birkel,

You think the Republicans would be any more likely to "devolve power to the states willingly?"

Hoo-hah!

Henry said...

Robert Cook is right:

Some of the more difficult legal questions confronting state efforts to legalize marijuana involve the intersection between state law and the existing federal prohibition. Even if the federal government decides to scale back marijuana law enforcement in non-prohibition states, federal law remains federal law and it continues to have an effect. Banks, attorneys and others are bound to respect federal law even in the absence of conforming state laws, and the legalization of a product at the state law does not eliminate the federal prohibition.

Given that the U.N.'s position maps just fine with Federal law, the proper resolution of this issue is for the Federal government to change its laws.

Henry said...

@Birkel: You present a position. Robert Cook describes a situation. Unfortunately your position does not deny the facts the situation.

This is not to say there isn't a constitutional argument to make against Federal drug laws. It is only to say that no one is making that argument successfully.

Revenant said...

If the US is a signatory to a treaty, isn't that then considered part of the constitution as long as the treaty is in force?

No.

Doesn't it take 60 Senators to approve a treaty?

Yes.

Isn't that why?

No. Amending the Constitution requires 67 Senators, 290 Representatives, and ratification by 38 states.

Revenant said...

"Why is the US even part of the UN?"

Uh, the US was one of the original sponsors and founding nations of the UN, whose primary purpose is the prevention of war.

That explains why we *originally* joined the UN, sure. But given that its primary purpose has been a complete failure from day one, it might be time to re-ask the question.

Heck, how many wars have been unilaterally launched by the permanent security council members *alone*? It has got to be at least fifteen by now.

Revenant said...

If the Republicans want to show they believe in federalism, they can pass a law stating that possession and sale of marijuana is not contrary to federal law, where state law allows, and to the extent that state law allows.

One more thing the Democrats didn't do when they had a chance.

Democrats don't claim to believe in federalism and limited government. Republicans do. That most Republicans still support federal drug prohibition after nearly a century of unbroken failure is one of the best examples of just how full of crap Republicans really are.

Listening to people who decry ObamaCare defend prohibition is humor gold.

Birkel said...

Henry:
Please tell me how Robert Cook invoking the Civil War accurately reflects the curent state of law. Tell me how the federal government can commandeer state law enforcement assets. Provide examples.

Birkel said...

In this argument I find myself aligned with Revenant. Phooey!

LOL

Unknown said...

This is a totally confusing "conversation." If I am reading right, under the Constitution, treaties carry the force of Federal law. If a treaty "abrogates" the Constitution, the treaty is not null and void unless (like Federal law) it gets adjudicated, presumably by the SCOTUS. Individual Sates can and do pas laws that abrogate Federal law, which can be remedied by adjudication.

If we had an executive branch the least bit interested in enforcing laws without political benefit, this would already have been resolved. I don't know if the UN could take individual States or the US government to court if they wanted to and could prove standing, would be interested to see.

Robert Cook said...

The UN is not going to take any US states or the US government to court.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

So, John Henry - tell us how you *really* feel.

- Hammond, card carrying Libertarian.

n.n said...

Federal and state rights are not exclusionary. They overlap and converge in following the black letter of the constitution.

While prohibition and Obamacare are both active intrusions on individual liberty, it is the latter, exclusively, which removes both rights and possession. Obamacare is notable for its imposition of a penalty to selective survivors of planned parenthood.

I wonder if the same people who equate evolution following conception and approaching death will make the same mistake twice.

That said, prohibition or legal decrees will have the same effectiveness to curb psychogenic consequences; as gun control to limit murders committed by criminals, government agents, and self-abortionists; as moral or voluntary moderation to limit premeditated abortion of wholly innocent human beings when they are uniquely vulnerable, before they have the ability to protest or arms to defend their lives.

Birkel said...

Unknown:
Federal law cannot force states to commit state assets to federal law enforcement. The federal government must enforce federal law. The federal government may persuade states to enact laws that command state assets to enforce those laws. The federal government may not coerce states to enforce federal laws.

Treaties cannot give the federal government power it does not alraedy have.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...That's okay; it was a rhetorical "uh," which is considered acceptable usage.
I know someone who'll be happy to give you 4 (or at least 3.5) reasons it's not, though. Although possibly "uh" is sufficiently different from "um" that you're ok. I'd still be careful...

Henry said...

@Birkel - History teaches us to be cynical.

Birkel said...

Henry:
That I have never met anybody more cynical than am I should surprise exactly nobody. But what you fear would require a quite-literal revolution won by the forces of the Left within the United States. I see no appetite for that. Witness the recent election cycle.

Ed said...

The founders labored to create a document that limits federal power and SCOTUS says commerce clause undoes all of it.
SCOTUS broken.
SCOTUS jurists should be selected by the State Governors

Steven said...

The Supreme Court has specifically held that 1) the Federal Government can do nothing by treaty that it cannot do by federal statute, 2) treaties have no more force than any other law, and 3) that treaties are not self-executing unless they specifically say so (which is to say, Congress usually has to pass a law to make them domestic law).

You occasionally get someone arguing that treaties should have some sort of privileged, entrenched position that makes them more powerful than ordinary laws, but they're arguing what they think should be, not what is.

So, yes, the states' actions are inconsistent with several international conventions. Which is, as far as US law is concerned, too damn bad for the conventions.

RecChief said...

Revanant said...
That most Republicans still support federal drug prohibition after nearly a century of unbroken failure is one of the best examples of just how full of crap Republicans really are.

Listening to people who decry ObamaCare defend prohibition is humor gold.


I'm not a GOPer. I don't have a problem with a state legalizing marijuana, but I don't mind that there is a federal prohibition on such drugs as methamphetamine, heroin, lsd, etc. etc. etc. And clearly the "war on drugs" hasn't worked. Much like the "war on poverty".

But, I'm tired of this bullshit where the binary choice of Big Government or No Government is presented. And the issue here is, what difference does it make what the UN says about it? Or are you one of those that believes International Law and/or UN conventions should supercede the laws of this country?

Jupiter said...

While I take second place to no one in my contempt and disdain for the UN, the fact is that the UN's drug prohibitions are mostly an extension of the US War on Drugs, adopted as a result of the urging, pleading, bribing and bullying of the US. If and when we finally abandon the War on Drugs, it will not be difficult to get the rest of the World to join the armistice.

Birkel said...

RecChief:
If the U.S. government would give up those two failed wars (Drugs and Poverty) most of us would be doing well enough not to need drugs to forget the looming bankruptcy (moral and financial) of the U.S. government.

jr565 said...

Birkel wrote:
If the U.S. government would give up those two failed wars (Drugs and Poverty) most of us would be doing well enough not to need drugs to forget the looming bankruptcy (moral and financial) of the U.S. government.

I'm not sure people, except for libertarians, are hooked on drugs because they're worried about the bankruptcy of the US govt.
If their financial situation were better, those hooked on drugs would be even more hooked since they'd be spending all that extra cash on more drugs.

Jupiter said...

Oregon's "legalization" of marijuana (for which I voted) is mostly an extension of the "medical marijuana" policies we have had in place for some time now. It has been amusing, to one who has no dog in the fight, to watch the sparring taking place between the Feds, the courts, the Sheriffs, the DA's, the medicos -- oh, you can't imagine the knots all these solemn asses have been tying themselves into as they try to come to terms with what amounts to a State's -- now several States' -- willful and insolent disregard for settled federal law. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that many in the legal community are sick of the whole morass. The attempt to enforce laws against "victimless crimes", against the determined opposition of much of the populace, has led to widespread contempt for the entire legal system, and not solely from outside of that system.

You will notice that this insurrection has taken place by ballot, not by legislative action. There are no champions for legalization of marijuana in the Legislature, but neither is anyone likely to build a political career at this late date crusading against marijuana. Politicians forced to take a position on this issue sincerely wish it would just go away, from Eric Holder on down to the cop who knows his neighbors smoke dope and hopes to God he never has to arrest his kids' friends' parents.

Steve Uhr said...

Birkel - you say that the Feds cannot coerce state and local action.

What about when JFK sent in troops to Alabama and elsewhere to enforce SCOTUS rulings on desegregation? Isn't that coercion? The Feds have the military, including the national guard. They have DOJ and US atty in every state. They have a fed court system. They have a prison system and the US Marshal Service That they can't force a local cop to make an arrest, etc. hardly seems to matter. If they think state action conflicts with the fed constitution or fed law they have more than adequate resources to deal with the problem.

Robert Cook said...

"That I have never met anybody more cynical than am I should surprise exactly nobody. But what you fear would require a quite-literal revolution won by the forces of the Left within the United States. I see no appetite for that. Witness the recent election cycle."

Birkel,

You are not sufficiently cynical if you believe that tyranny or expression of force by the federal government to assert its authority over the states would come only from a Democratic government. (I do not use your phrase "left," as we do not have a "left" government now and have not had since...when?)

Revenant said...

What about when JFK sent in troops to Alabama and elsewhere to enforce SCOTUS rulings on desegregation? Isn't that coercion?

No, it was law enforcement. The federal government can use its own forces, troops included, to enforce federal law. Birkel's point is that the federal government cannot order local law enforcement to enforce federal law.

Clyde said...

"The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime." Do they actually do anything, anything at all, that makes one whit of difference in the real world? Have they reduced the level of Drugs or Crime, either one, at all, anywhere in the world? Or are they just parasitic bureaucrats taking up valuable real estate and racking up parking tickets in New York City? I think I already know that answer to those questions.

Revenant said...

If they think state action conflicts with the fed constitution or fed law they have more than adequate resources to deal with the problem.

Well, no, they really don't. There are only 120,000 federal law enforcement personnel with arrest powers, compared to approximately seven times that many local law enforcement -- and, of course, the local law enforcement are the ones who actually know the communities and the local criminals.

Birkel said...

jr565:

Just because you don't like the joke doesn't mean it wasn't a joke.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook:

You advocate greater federal power at every turn. As stated above, I hope you - personally - receive what you advocate.

I argue for less federal power.

Hagar said...

"A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

Which we can't if the government(s) and the governed cease to agree to respect each other.

Steve Uhr said...

Rev-- what about the Nat Guard? Shouldn't they be added to the 120k?

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...

"...(I do not use your phrase "left," as we do not have a "left" government now and have not had since...when?)"

OK, Cookie, I'll bite. What is a "left" government? Has anyone ever had one?

RecChief said...

What about when JFK sent in troops to Alabama and elsewhere to enforce SCOTUS rulings on desegregation?

or, Eisenhower in Arkansas even. 101st Airborne.

The Naitonal Guard is controlled by the governor of the state or territory. i.e. the Minnesota National Guard's commander in chief is Mark Dayton, until they are federalized under Title 10. Then the President is commander in chief. In actuality, the 54 National Guard commands are funded through National Guard Bureau, which gets its money from HQDA, so using the power of the purse....you can figure it out.

Read up on Posse Comitatus, there have been interesting changes since Hurrican Katrina.

Robert Cook said...

"You occasionally get someone arguing that treaties should have some sort of privileged, entrenched position that makes them more powerful than ordinary laws, but they're arguing what they think should be, not what is."

According to the Constitution, treaties become, along with other laws passed by Congress, "the supreme law of the land," which state judges are bound by.

This does not mean they are more privileged than other laws or have greater force, but it means they are as privileged as other laws and have equal force.

Robert Cook said...

"...are you one of those that believes International Law and/or UN conventions should supercede the laws of this country?"

As signatories to various international treaties (and the UN Charter), the "international law and/or UN conventions" stipulated in those documents to which we're signatories do not "supersede" the laws of this country but become the laws of this country. As already discussed above in the thread.

RecChief said...

Revenant said...
What about when JFK sent in troops to Alabama and elsewhere to enforce SCOTUS rulings on desegregation? Isn't that coercion?

No, it was law enforcement. The federal government can use its own forces, troops included, to enforce federal law.


I understand you want to be seen as the smartest person in the room, but pronouncements such as this undermine your case.

The only time the President can employ the US Armed forces (except the coast guard) on American soil is put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. See Insurrection Act of 1807. Also, read up on the NDAA of 2012.

Jupiter said...

"This does not mean they are more privileged than other laws or have greater force, but it means they are as privileged as other laws and have equal force."

Hmmmm.... I am doubting that is quite so. Who enforces them? Who was ever arrested for violating a treaty? What court tried him?

Birkel said...

State judges are not part of the conversation, Robert Cook. Enforcement of law is an executive duty.

You are one incredibly ignorant statist jack ass. Then again, is there any other kind?

Robert Cook said...

"You advocate greater federal power at every turn."

Show me where I advocate greater federal power at every turn.

Rather, I advocate a government that is responsible to (and more responsive to) and serves the American people, rather than to the wealthy individuals and institutions for whom it presently (and solely) works.

Robert Cook said...

"State judges are not part of the conversation, Robert Cook. Enforcement of law is an executive duty."

You can't wish away what is stated in the constitution, Birkel.

Birkel said...

Jupiter:
You are correct to doubt the ill-informed "interpretation" of Robert Cook.

Robert Cook said...

"Hmmmm.... I am doubting that is quite so. Who enforces them? Who was ever arrested for violating a treaty? What court tried him?"

Jupiter, I'm not asserting what is practiced in daily reality, only what is stated in the constitution.

Steven said...

Apparently in my editing process, I managed to lose the addressing of my comment to "tim in vermont". Anyway. There are people who have advocated for treating treaties as Constitution-level, or even Constitution-amending. They have no support in case law for their position.

Robert Cook said...

Heh. Birkel thinks my quoting directly from the Constitution is "interpretation."

Birkel said...

Pleasse show me in the U.S. Constitution where judges enforce the laws. I am a patient man so you take your time and read it thoroughly.

Also, your mendacity is well known. I disregard the double-think of all committed Leftists such as yourself.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...
"Show me where I advocate greater federal power at every turn.

Rather, I advocate a government that is responsible to (and more responsive to) and serves the American people, rather than to the wealthy individuals and institutions for whom it presently (and solely) works."

Don't you think that such a government would have to be a good deal more powerful than the one we have? Or at least, would have to exert power much more often?

Birkel said...

Quote away, Robert Cook.

RecChief said...

Robert Cook said...
As signatories to various international treaties (and the UN Charter), the "international law and/or UN conventions" stipulated in those documents to which we're signatories do not "supersede" the laws of this country but become the laws of this country. As already discussed above in the thread.


I understand that's the Atlantic's interpretation. Perhaps you should read Reid v. Covert. Here's a partial quote from that decision: "This [Supreme] Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty."

So... we have a leftist rag claiming one thing, but an actual supreme court decision ruling the other way....

Robert Cook said...

Here it is again, for those who missed it up top:

Article VI, paragraph 2:

"This constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Birkel said...

Robert Cook, apparently, believes the U.S. Constitution mentions state judges enforcing treaties.

Is that in Article 51 or Area 51?

Birkel said...

Words have meaning, Robert Cook. Think more deeply even though it hurts.

Robert Cook said...

"Don't you think that such a government would have to be a good deal more powerful than the one we have? Or at least, would have to exert power much more often?"

To be in service to the American people, to be more responsible and responsive to we, the people?

No. Why do you think so? How?

RecChief said...

Here's another quote from that decision:

"This Court has also repeatedly taken the position that an Act of Congress, which MUST comply with the Constitution, is on full parity with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict, renders the treaty null. It would be completely anomalous to say that a treaty need not comply with the Constitution when such an agreement can be overridden by a statute that must conform to that instrument."

Robert Cook said...

Birkel, I merely (and humbly, as always), present to you Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution. Do you wish to argue it does not say what it says?

Birkel said...

Robert Cook is a closet libertarian who believes in a hugely powerful federal government. Hahahahah

The mind boggles.

Birkel said...

The comedy just won't stop!

Birkel said...

Robert Cook s now a strict constructionist. Hahahahaha

Robert Cook said...

Apparently, you do not wish to argue the point.

Birkel said...

RecChief believes Robert Cook will take the interpretation of the SCOTUS over his own, personal, interpretation

Now tell the one about the priest, the rabbi and the imam, RecChief.

Birkel said...

I also will not argue with my houseplants, Robert Cook.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook's understanding of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law (unless it signs a treaty and then anything Congress wishes to do is just jake) abridging...

Right, Robert Cook?
That is what your U.S. Constitution pocket decoder ring from that Cracker Jacks box tells you. Right?

Revenant said...

Rev-- what about the Nat Guard? Shouldn't they be added to the 120k?

No, because (a) they don't have law enforcement powers and (b) they're controlled by the states anyway.

Revenant said...

The only time the President can employ the US Armed forces (except the coast guard) on American soil is put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. See Insurrection Act of 1807. Also, read up on the NDAA of 2012.

I apologize for conflating "stopping lawlessness" with "enforcing the law".

Revenant said...

"State judges are not part of the conversation, Robert Cook. Enforcement of law is an executive duty."

You can't wish away what is stated in the constitution, Birkel.

Well, it IS stated in the Constitution that Congress has no power to ban the sale or consumption of drugs. From a Constitutional perspective, even if a treaty establishes that Congress must ban drugs, it doesn't matter -- just like it wouldn't matter if Congress signed a treaty establishing legal slavery.

The Congressional power to ban drugs comes not from the Constitution, but from the Supreme Court inventing the idea that the ability to control interstate commerce grants the ability to control everything, everywhere.

Thus, as always, it isn't the text of the Constitution or the opinions of the UN that matter, but what the nine senior citizens on the court think the law should be this week.

Steve Uhr said...

Rev--as the All Knowing Chief pointed out the Guard is controlled ultimately by the fed government. As to whether they have law enforcement powers, feel free to engage them in such a debate if, hypothetically, they attempt to arrest you.

I for one think corruption runs deepest at the state and local level and believe a strong fed government is a good thing on balance.

Birkel said...

Revenant:
In the interest of fairness not all Justices are senior citizens unless you use AARP's definition of 50 or older.

Birkel said...

Steve Uhr, the concern troll, reveals his Leftism. I called this one early. Hahahaha

Unknown said...

RecChief, Birkel, I rarely agree with Cook BUT. The words in the Constitution are clear. The SCOTUS says that a treaty cannot violate the Constitution, but does not give you or I the authority to decide what is constitutional -- and we know who decides.

It's no different than a State passing a law that gets challenged on grounds of Constitutionality. The executive branch is responsible for executing law. This is a dumb argument to be having.

Whether you agree with legalization of mar. or not, we have federal laws and valid treaties against it. Until such time as it gets to the courts, we are in an unclear space where if it is charged in Fed court, you can be prosecuted but it is not a criminal offense (which is too broad a statement) in State or municipal court. If Fed Gov does not have the right to make it illegal, it needs to be made clear in a court of law. If Fed Gov does not have that right, then a treaty cannot be valid. If Fed Gov had the right, then a treaty is valid.

IMHO, we have an executive branch that does not care about laws that do not level a political advantage, and therefore this situation will not be resolved until there is a political capital to be made.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...
"Don't you think that such a government would have to be a good deal more powerful than the one we have? Or at least, would have to exert power much more often?"

To be in service to the American people, to be more responsible and responsive to we, the people?

No. Why do you think so? How?

You left off this part;
"rather than to the wealthy individuals and institutions for whom it presently (and solely) works."

I assume you feel that we, the people have interests different from, indeed antithetical to, those wealthy individuals and institutions. Wouldn't the government need to act against them, if it is to be responsive to us?

Steve Uhr said...

Birkel my friend. -- it is not a left vs right distinction I am making. Neither side has a monopoly on corruption.

Fernandinande said...

I don't see how the U.N. can be compatible with existing laws.

"The World's Most Corrupt Diplomats, As Told Through Parking Tickets"
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonbruner/2011/07/12/the-worlds-most-corrupt-diplomats-as-told-through-parking-tickets-map/

Spoiler: African and Mid-east countries are the worst.
Shocked, etc...

RecChief said...

The words in the Constitution are clear. The SCOTUS says that a treaty cannot violate the Constitution, but does not give you or I the authority to decide what is constitutional -- and we know who decides.

fair enough. A simpler way to say it is that all treaties entered into must be Constitutional. Which isn't what Cook is saying, or at least not how I read what he is saying (I'm being charitable).

RecChief said...

I apologize for conflating "stopping lawlessness" with "enforcing the law".

Smug dicks gotta be smug dicks I guess.

If you want to conflate "enforcing the law" with putting down insurrections, rebellions, and riots, go right ahead.

Sorry, but the doctrine of posse comitatus is one that I have gotten a fair education on. From DoD lawyers.

Birkel said...

Unknown:
You have mis-identified the issue. The issue is enforcement of federal law, which state governments need not do. That federal law is supreme is not in question.

Steve Uhr:
That this is a Left-Right issue is defined by how people line up. You, as a concern trolling Leftist have identified for me which side is of the Left. Thanks for that.

RecChief said...

Here is another point, that Rev and Coookie have missed.

If Robert Cook's assertion is true: "those documents to which we're signatories do not "supersede" the laws of this country but become the laws of this country." (Only if that treaty is already constitutional -his construction shouldn't make sense because of the lower threshold to pass an amendment versus the higher threshold for passing an amendment)

But let's assume it is true. By allowing states to decide the question on their own, our light bringer "constitutional scholar" and his sidekick Eric Holder have caused this country to violate an international treaty. By choosing not to enforce a federal law (cause teaties automatically become the law of the land) because he didn't want the political fight with the possibility of splitting his electoral coalition, he caused America to violate an international treaty.

Maybe he should have applied "don't do stupid shit" to this question as well, and just faithfully executed the duties of his office, which as head of the executive branch his job is to enforce the law.

RecChief said...

Steve Uhr said...
Rev--as the All Knowing Chief pointed out the Guard is controlled ultimately by the fed government. As to whether they have law enforcement powers, feel free to engage them in such a debate if, hypothetically, they attempt to arrest you.

I for one think corruption runs deepest at the state and local level and believe a strong fed government is a good thing on balance.


Oh, we're going passive aggressive are we? How was HAPPY HOUR, Steve?

But, on to other things, don't let my telling you how the Naitonal Guard works change the fact that the Naitonal Guard is controlled by the state unless and until the Federal Gov't federalizes them. see Little Rock (arkansas natioanl guard) and Kent State (ohio national guard).

RecChief said...

I for one think corruption runs deepest at the state and local level and believe a strong fed government is a good thing on balance.

Corruption runs deepest where power is concentrated. We have over the last 10 years concentrated more power at the Federal level than was envisioned, are you saying with Solyndra, TARP, the IRS, The stimulus, that federal government is more efficient now than it was in say, the 1980s? the '90s? The federal government appears most efficient when you examine periods of time when it has less obligations and less power in its portfolio

Andy Krause said...

On the legalization side, doesn't the Netherlands have the same problem with the UN treaty? It seems that the laws are kept on the books but not enforced. We can say "oh sure" to the UN in public and say "up yours" in private.

Steve Uhr said...

Birkel -- I take it you think the Feds should not regulate marijuana use and leave it up to the states?

Steve Uhr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

If you want to conflate "enforcing the law" with putting down insurrections, rebellions, and riots, go right ahead.

They were there to enforce a Supreme Court ruling. That isn't "law enforcement" in the usual sense, but denying that they were enforcing a law is a bit silly, don't you think?

Sorry, but the doctrine of posse comitatus is one that I have gotten a fair education on. From DoD lawyers.

And...?

Revenant said...

Rev--as the All Knowing Chief pointed out the Guard is controlled ultimately by the fed government. As to whether they have law enforcement powers, feel free to engage them in such a debate if, hypothetically, they attempt to arrest you.

I had assumed we were talking about what the US federal and state governments are legally allowed to do. If you want to whip out the "they have lots of guns so they can do whatever they please" card then sure, I concede that point.

Of course, by the same token we can ignore the UN on the grounds that they have no means of enforcing what they want. :)

Revenant said...

By choosing not to enforce a federal law (cause teaties automatically become the law of the land)

And the specific treaty that you claim Holder is violating would be...?

he caused America to violate an international treaty.

America violates international treaties every day. Treaties can't grant powers to Congress or take them away. Congress doesn't have any Constitutional authority to forbid states from legalizing drugs under local law, so it does not matter at all if Congress has ratified a treaty that requires it to do so.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skyler said...

Well, it's not compatible with federal law, outside of treaties, as well.

I suspect some people will learn this the hard way.

Jupiter said...

Skyler said...
"Well, it's not compatible with federal law, outside of treaties, as well.

I suspect some people will learn this the hard way."

Oh, loads of people have been learning it the hard way here in Oregon for a while now. They arrest people, and seize their property, and pull their licenses. The War on Drugs is as destructive, and as futile, as ever.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be some confusion in the comments about treaties and states rights. Understandable, considering we seriously muddied the waters when we passed the 14th(?) Amendment. You see, the House is meant to represent the people. The Senate was meant to represent the states. This is why each state gets 2 senators. No matter if your state has a population of 500k or 5 million.

So, if Senators represent the will of the states and each treaty requires 60 votes in the senate, well, then you have no conflict between federal government and state government. The states, as a collective, through their Senators, voted to ratify the treaty.

Anonymous said...

Jupiter,

It's not a war on drugs so much as a war on law breakers. Selling, trafficking, using drugs is against the law.

States should be sued by anyone who is busted federally for helping to muddy the waters.I mean, if I were a pot smoker, I'd claim mental incompacity to understand the distinction and sue my state.

Birkel said...

eric:
That is ridiculous. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Jupiter:
The federal government is free to enforce federal laws. Local law enforcement need not help in the endeavor.

Achilles said...

Unknown said...
"Maybe we (the U.S., or some subset) could become net exporters. Better than oil. Is there a marijuana oil?"

Yes. If you use a Butane, super-critical CO2, or similar solvent extraction you get various types of oil which is essentially a THC concentrate. They are referred to as honey oils a lot as they look like green or golden honey oil.

Achilles said...

So I see the Con's have summed up the war on drugs nicely on this thread. Just another fight between little tyrants over who gets to ban things. Because the UN sucks!

Robert Cooke also has his little tyrant hat on. You can keep you drugs but we get to take your income and distribute it FAIRLY.

Hopefully soon we get to ignore all of our little tyrants.

Anonymous said...

Birkel,

Its true, ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, ignorance is an excuse.

We always have to prove knowledge. Always. That's why, when I open the trunk of a vehicle and four people are hiding in there,the driver always says, "I didn't know they were in there!"

I imagine a clever lawyer could make the gas for marijuana businesses that they knew the law but they didn't know the particular action they were taking was against the law.

I'm no lawyer so I wouldn't know. But as a cop, I run into ignorance all the time. And its a regular defense. And we always have to establish knowledge. Always.

Birkel said...

Achilles:
From your lips to God's ears.

RecChief said...

They were there to enforce a Supreme Court ruling. That isn't "law enforcement" in the usual sense, but denying that they were enforcing a law is a bit silly, don't you think?

If you want to ignore that the governor of Arkansas used the National Guard to defy a Supreme Court ruling as simple lawlessness, go ahead. That looks like insurrection or rebellion to me. Not to mention the possibility of riots.

Birkel said...

eric:
I believe you are stupid enough to be a cop

Anonymous said...

I love you too Birkel.

Birkel said...

I remember this one time, when a cop was a terrible witness. They said words that made no sense. And them the jury laughed and laughed and laughed. Then the cop admitted violating the U.S. Constitution. We had great fun.

And then I cashed the check.

Smilin' Jack said...


""Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions... the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said on Wednesday...."


Cool. I was wondering what it would take to get the red states to legalize pot. Thanks, U.N. Bozo of Whatever!

Achilles said...

eric said...

"It's not a war on drugs so much as a war on law breakers. Selling, trafficking, using drugs is against the law."

That's the problem with law enforcement. We used to have peace officers. Now we have law enforcement. The difference isn't semantic. Law enforcement officers spend more time harassing peaceful people with speeding tickets and confiscation of property than they do going after criminals.

It couldn't be because there is more money in going after people smoking pot than violent criminals... nah.

Birkel said...

Achilles:
More money and less risk.
Win-Win!

Jeff said...

In a state like Colorado, a federal prosecutor might have a hard time getting a jury to convict someone on a charge that the citizens of that state have decided is not a crime.

Anonymous said...

Achilles wrote;

"It couldn't be because there is more money in going after people smoking pot than violent criminals... nah."

This sounds just like President Obama and illegal aliens. Don't harass the poor illegal aliens, focus on the violent criminals!

It's too bad that doesn't work. If you reduce the number of judges in order to save your precious group that you think shouldn't have the law enforced upon them, it tends to have much wider ranging implications.

Achilles said...

eric said...
Achilles wrote;

"It couldn't be because there is more money in going after people smoking pot than violent criminals... nah."

"This sounds just like President Obama and illegal aliens. Don't harass the poor illegal aliens, focus on the violent criminals!

It's too bad that doesn't work. If you reduce the number of judges in order to save your precious group that you think shouldn't have the law enforced upon them, it tends to have much wider ranging implications."

Yeah. I know right? If you don't harass people and give them $125 tickets for expired car tabs those citizens will get all randy on you. 61 in a reduced speed 50 zone! Absolutely nail that guy. A bong and some weed in the house? Toss it! There's cash in there too I bet. Get that MRAP the feds gave us it is no knock time.