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A Justice opens the door a bit on Supreme Court acceptance of the Constitutional right of jury nullification

Of course, the concept of Jury Nullification (choosing to find a defendant not-guilty because of your disagreement with the law) is a time-honored Constitutional power of the jury. After all, the jury of peers is the highest judge of the law in our system, and cannot be held to account as to their reason for making a finding.

However, the judiciary has been openly antagonistic toward the concept, even to the point of excluding jurors who believed in the concept, instructing juries that they’re not allowed to think that way, and even attempting to jail activities who are merely trying to inform the population of their rights as jurors.

So this is significant:

Justice Sotomayor Says ‘There Is a Place, I Think, for Jury Nullification’

This week Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had some kind words for jury nullification, which empowers jurors to judge the law as well as the facts of a case and may involve disregarding the law when the law is unjust. During a discussion about juries at NYU Law School on Monday, Sotomayor, who used to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, was asked about a 1997 decision in which that court “categorically reject[ed]” nullification. “As we govern in the system, and watching it, I’m not so sure that’s right,” she said, according to Law360. “There is a place, I think, for jury nullification—finding the balance in that and the role judges should play.”

A small, but important step.

And, of course, jury nullification has been used to free some people brought to trial on drug charges. It has the potential, as more of the public becomes disenchanted with the drug war, to become even more heavily utilized, even to the point of making it difficult for prosecutors to bring certain kinds of charges forward.

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45 comments to A Justice opens the door a bit on Supreme Court acceptance of the Constitutional right of jury nullification

  • thelbert

    funny how the big shots say we will decide what the law is and you don’t have a say in it. all you need to do is obey, or else. authoritarians are a dime a dozen, in america: http://tinyurl.com/jrafytg

  • Servetus

    Checks and balances are a sign of a healthy legal system. Jury nullification is one example. Nullification has a long tradition within English law, which is probably why the US still has jury nullification, despite attempts by some courts to disempower its citizens by prohibiting it.

    In Merry Olde England, jury nullification ended the witch hunts by the end of the 17th century, as more and more people realized the crime was bogus. In the meantime, England’s King James I (r. 1567-1603) had engineered the deaths of an estimated 35,000 innocent women with his idiotic witch study entitled Daemonologie. In some cases, James personally presided over the torture of witch suspects.

    James I also violently opposed the use of tobacco, the plant having recently been introduced from the New World. Not because he knew of its potentially ill health effects. He didn’t. No one did. He called tobacco a habit of “those filthy Indians”, referring to Native Americans. Note the Bad King’s emphasis on a plant, tobacco, and its correlation to a culture and people he dismissed as worthless, and obviously detested. Some things never change.

    If you had to live under a half-witted, crazed tyrant like James I, wouldn’t you want the option of jury nullification? I know I would, and I don’t even use tobacco products.

  • DdC

    Jury Nullification is the reason for adding mandatory minimums and gag orders to Cannabis jury trials. A deterrent that seems to be working since over 90% of those busted choose a plea bargain. With mandatory rehab, urine tests and probation. For a non crime. The Cannabis cases where JN has worked seemed to also nullify double jeopardy by appealing to a higher police agency. If the state doesn’t get you the feds will as with Eddy Lepp. Sister Somaya had to go through several bust’ to be finally nullified. Ed Rosenthal was given a one day sentence after the jury wrote the judge about the gag order and not having proper evidence given to them.

    Sister Somaya Kambui
    Also seized were six pounds of marijuana in large glasses, an additional 13 pounds in packaging, 34 marijuana cookies, 32 small brown vials of hash oil, and a pot on the stove with three liters of oil. But after six days of testimony, a Superior Court jury spent only three hours deliberating before finding Kambui, 51, not guilty on all five counts.

    I believe most still fear stories of the old Jim Crow days and lynch mob days in the South. When juries of the lunch mob were peers getting their friends off. The important difference is the victims. Cannabis users are persecuted by the government whereas the lynch mobs did the persecuting. Murdering people and getting off on JN does tend to sour the process. More authoritah “means” to the end of perpetuating the war and the profits on the war. Plus a bonus of racism, classism and generally demonizing large masses of the public. While keeping many multinational corporations protected from Ganja and Hemp competition if it was truly Free Market capitalism.

    Nullification is a weapon of good in the drug war until we find a politician with a true anatomy containing a backbone and set of gahoonies.

    “There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law.”
    – Kurt Huber,
    The head of “White Rose”,
    killed by the Nazis in 1943.

    • NCN

      Speaking of gahoonies, enjoyed the tasty aroma of the troll-chowder you cooked up the other day in a response comment.

      My California state Senator, Mike McGuire just introduced SB987 a 15% tax on medical cannabis to be stacked on top of existing retail taxes. I wrote him a friendly letter telling him my Mexican Cartel buds will be looking forward to the increased bidnezz.

      In 2003 I was invited to help trim Eddy Lepp’s giant cannabis crop but then the feds busted him and cut his crop down. I also attended the first day of Ed Rosenthal’s trial which was also in 2003. I almost spit out my cannabis lollypop when Judge Breyer did his anti-Jury Nullification lecture prior to starting proceedings.

      It sounded much like a threat to me.

      Go Jury Nullification!

  • ThreatsToIrishMedia

    The Irish Police delivered hand-written messages yesterday to several press rooms in Dublin, warning about possible threats to specific journalists who have been reporting on recent gangland activity. Here’s part of an editorial published in today’s Irish Independent:

    Every attempt to tame the media or subvert the truth is an affront to our country and its people. It is a challenge to law and order and therefore cannot be allowed to go unmet.
    The importance of the freedom of a journalist to do their work is uniquely recognised by the courts.
    Their freedom is in lockstep with all those who believe in civil liberties. All democracies protect and cherish free speech as a fundamental right.
    As the statement from our Editor-in-Chief points out: “Our media group will not be deterred from serving the public interest and highlighting the threat to society at large posed by such criminals.”

    Those with something to hide are the only ones intimidated by, or frightened by, the truth.
    There is no length to which they will not go to shield themselves from the consequences of its exposure. Such bullying is ultimately devoid of purpose as, no matter how menacing the threats, there is no known hiding place from the truth.
    And not even an AK47 can arm the most ruthless against the facts.
    Irish Independent Feb 12th

    http://tinyurl.com/IrelandFollowsMexico

    • Frank W.

      “If you support prohibition then you support bank-rolling criminals, corrupt politicians and terrorists. There’s simply no other logical way of looking at it.”
      Malcolmkyle’s comment in that Ireland article should be quoted by debate moderators this year and handed to Hillary Clinton. Chuck? Rachel? Rush? Anybody???

      • Mouth

        And drug warriors/prohibs support having sex with little children. Think of the strategic advantage the Taliban and ISIS etc gain by having sex with little children. Drug money increases the odds of children being molested.

        This is why I registered myself as a Dem for this year (Independents are not allowed to vote in some areas), because far too many republicans want to have sex with children . . . I think when you make it easier for a monster to molest a child, then you are in support of the actions and physically making it easier for the monster . . . an accessory to molestation/rape. Who would want to bet that hired henchmen for the Mexican Cartels don’t use rape on youngsters as a means of control/punishment/warnings? Central America? Burma? Russian Mafia even (who was also in my Baghdad Prison)?

        “Organized Crime is why you all are in Iraq (2008)”. Those words haunt me every day. It’s easy to quit fighting when those you fight have no and few weapons or finances.

  • jean valjean

    Johann Hari has an article in Huffpo:

    “For years, doctors kept approaching [Anslinger] with evidence he was wrong, and he began to snap, telling them they were “treading on dangerous ground” and should watch their mouths.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-influence/real-reasons-marijuana-is-banned_b_9210248.html

  • thelbert

    i need to get jacked up on marijuana and watch this: http://tinyurl.com/hlv6pmr it’s your taxes at work, kinda

    • B. Snow

      Why the military-industrial complex mainstay was making anti-drug propaganda remains something of a mystery, but Lockheed’s name is on the video below.

      If I had to guess, I suspect that they would’ve been one of the first corporation interests whose employees were handling government secrets – (I’m thinking… maybe the Skunkworks Projects? )

      And that this could have easily been a training video along the lines of “Don’t go out drinking in public & blab secrets to the cute girl you picked up at the bar, as she could be working for the Soviets!”

      Think = Warren Zevon – ‘Lawyers, Guns & Money’ – except they tell them that there will be such help for them if “she’s with the Russians too…” Although they could expect to be shoved in an Oubliette, or maybe Leavenworth? = If secrets reached another country via this sort of leak.

      Or maybe there’s some other reason that they would’ve made such a film, IDK what all Lockheed Martin was into in the defense industry outside of aerospace tech – maybe something that they picked up from the Martin buyout?

      I guess spraying an aerosolized form of LSD would’ve been one way to incapacitate the personnel in an enemy area/LZ prior to going in?

      But that could be a real crapshoot if even a few people were more focused on manning Anti-aircraft turrets or what-have-you, rather than being “jacked-up” in a negative way…

      • Mouth

        Or they are just trying to make a buck like American Car dealerships do on bases in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan . . . and like McDonalds, Subway, TGI Fridays, DQ, Taco Bell, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Cinnabon, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC etc.

        Imagine if you B. Snow was a Civilian Contract Worker (non-military/DoD/Pentagon) and Pete was my Major and DdC was my 1st Sergeant, while I was just a private. Who do you really expect gives me, the private the verbal orders on how to do my job and what I should do? If you guessed that the Civilian Contract Worker was the one who usually gave Privates their orders, then you know more about our Military than most people do. Even with the above higher ranking soldiers in the same room with me, as well as you, the Civilian Contract Worker, you’d still be giving me the orders. At least that’s how it was for me. With no-man’s land just a quarter mile away, I wasn’t allowed to keep my weapon in the area I worked at (keeping Contract Workers from India and other parts of Asia safe) because it could promote a ‘hostile working environment’. Or if I encountered an Indian contract worker turned terrorist, I would have to tell him to stop using his knife or other weapon and then get KBR (Civilian) to first document the assault before letting the military do something, but that is also why we have Ugandan Security Guards (yes, real Ugandans from Uganda Africa, wearing their contract uniforms–dressed like safari guides), parked outside most of our facilities. That’s how it was in 2008. America: my country tis of thee no more. My heroes are those who step on the U.S. flag and use it to clean up shit–then you’ll need to buy another one at Wal-Mart, which is good for business.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1 (1794)

    In this case, the first Chief Justice, John Jay, wrote: “It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy”.

    In 1895 in Sparf v. United States, the Court said that courts need not inform jurors of their de facto right of juror nullification although jurors’ inherent right to judge the law remains unchallenged.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that a prohibitionist wouldn’t acknowledge the truth if it jumped up and bit him on the ass. Rarely does a week pass when a prohibitionist doesn’t cause me to reminisce about an acquaintance who was the most comprehensive pathological liar I’ve ever met. If that guy hadn’t lied to you then you couldn’t have known him for more than 10 minutes. The headline on the article linked below is inaccurate. I’ve adjusted it to make it more accurate.

    [Percentage increase of] Marijuana use among U.S. adults not as high as predicted before

    /snip/
    The Washington University researchers found that rather than doubling, the increase in marijuana use among adults was closer to 20 percent over the same time period and that problems related to using pot, such as addiction, remained steady or even declined.

    The new findings are in stark contrast to data published in 2015 by another team of researchers. They had suggested the percentage of U.S. adults using marijuana had more than doubled from 2002 to 2013, with a similar increase in the rate of marijuana-use disorders.

    But the new research comes with a caveat: Even though the percentage of adults smoking pot has not doubled, an overall higher percentage of people reported using the drug in 2013 than had been reported in the previous study. That study had indicated that 9.5 percent of American adults used the drug, as compared with 12.5 percent in this study.

    The new findings are available Feb. 10 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, the same journal that published the 2015 report.

    “It’s not surprising that marijuana use is on the rise — several states have legalized it for either medicinal or recreational use — but our data suggest that the use rate hasn’t come close to doubling,” said first author Richard A. Grucza, PhD, a professor of psychiatry. “That doesn’t mean there are no problems. The two studies agree that close to 1 in 10 adults uses the drug. The difference is that we believe the 2002 survey for the other study underestimated the percentage of adults using the drug.”
    /snip/

    It just this minute struck me that I haven’t kept up with current events in the life of the liar mentioned above. I can’t say for certain that he hasn’t been put in charge of disseminating public “information” for the sycophants of prohibition. It’s certainly a plausible explanation and he did have a substantial affection for cannabis for enjoyment. Not that he’d ever have admitted that verbally.

  • jean valjean

    Michelle Alexander on why Clinton should not consider the black vote as hers automatically:

    ‘Some might argue that it’s unfair to judge Hillary Clinton for the policies her husband championed years ago. But Hillary wasn’t picking out china while she was first lady. She bravely broke the mold and redefined that job in ways no woman ever had before. She not only campaigned for Bill; she also wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”’

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-hillary-clinton-doesnt-deserve-black-vote

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Oh-oh. Life has suddenly taken an unexpected turn for the worse for the fans of cannabis. Did this guy really need to file the serial number off his WMD? Now we’ll never know if it came from Iran or North Korea!

    Weapon of mass destruction, marijuana found in NC man’s home

    /snip/
    After receiving a number of complaints in regards to a home located at 111 Lamm Drive, members of the sheriff’s office began an investigation into the sale and distribution of marijuana at the home.

    A search warrant was obtained and served. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team assisted in the execution of the warrant after authorities received information that those in the home were armed.

    Marijuana was found in the home, as well as a weapon of mass destruction which had been modified and the serial number had been removed.
    /snip/

    I’ll bet that the neighbors quit filing complaints!

  • DdC

    Senators want to abolish financial aid penalties
    for college students with drug convictions

    A Lie College Students Might Want To Tell

    Civilized Life
    Cannabis Culture Elevated

    Review:
    Cannabinoids Reasonable Option For Chronic Pain Treatment

    Study:
    Marijuana Linked To Better Outcomes In Brain Injury Patients

  • Mouth

    Indeed it is a small step–depending on where you live at. Since small towns dominate my area, they only pick jurors who are still engaged at picking and eating the lice/bugs found in each other’s hair (only our state’s local rap and rock/metal scene is the most progressive). Earlier this month, I wrote to my incest born Congressman of a politician (not even 40yrs old yet) about Industrial Hemp supplementing our lowering oil economy via hemp fuels, clothing, paper–you all know what it makes and he wrote back about not believing in Marijuana legalization because the FDA finds it harmful to the body and mind. He’s a Cruz aficionado.

    Where I work at, my boss had the perfect opportunity to create and sell products that would be beneficial to the legal and medical marijuana industries, which would have helped us during the oil money drought in my area (I hate any gallon of gas that isn’t at least $2 a gallon–I want to vomit at anything that doesn’t cost $20 and higher to fill up a car). For 3/4ths of a year, we had to work 4 days a week and we could have used Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California’s business, now the same product we make and sell has been taken over by another company and it’s a product that would need replacing from time to time due to all the moisture, dust/dirt, fungus and bugs that generally come from small and mega grows.

    The only sane and calming thing around me is the loud trains that come every 15/30 min–all day long–like the one coming right now with it’s 2min loud horn.

    P.S. I met a local rap artist who’s an Iraq war vet and he’s allergic to plant matter based pot, but he can and loves the dabs. He’s the second person I’ve ever met who claims to be allergic to cannabis (both in the military). He says it causes his throat to close up, but is eager to see Legal Medical Pot in the nation so the VA will be forced to give him THC/CBD extracts. So, no pot, no edibles and no hash for him . . . what about Sodas?

    Can you all please write to Mark Wayne Mullin–my inept oil and Cruz loving Congressman. Every time he writes back, it has nothing to do with what I said . . . at least Senator Dr. Tom Coburn replied on my topics (yes I miss him because of who we have now).

    Take care couch.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Poe’s Law kills your parody…unless it wasn’t parody. In the off chance you weren’t kidding about FDA “disapproval” of cannabis:

      /snip/
      2. Why hasn’t the FDA approved marijuana for medical uses?

      A. To date, the FDA has not approved a marketing application for marijuana for any indication. The FDA generally evaluates research conducted by manufacturers and other scientific investigators. Our role, as laid out in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, is to review data submitted to the FDA in an application for approval to assure that the drug product meets the statutory standards for approval.

      The FDA has approved Marinol for therapeutic uses in the United States, including for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in AIDS patients. Marinol includes the active ingredient dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is considered the psychoactive component of marijuana. Another FDA-approved drug, Cesamet, contains the active ingredient nabilone, which has a chemical structure similar to THC and is synthetically derived.

      3. Is marijuana safe for medical use?

      A. The FDA has not approved any product containing or derived from botanical marijuana for any indication. This means that the FDA has not found any such product to be safe or effective for the treatment of any disease or condition. Study of marijuana in clinical trial settings is needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical use.

      The FDA will continue to facilitate the work of companies interested in appropriately bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market, including scientifically-based research concerning the medicinal uses of marijuana.
      /snip/

      The only reason that the FDA has not approved or rejected any phytocannabinoid medicines is because no one has ask them to approve it. IMO this is one of the most brilliant tactical strategies employed by the prohibitionist parasites. It requires them to do absolutely nothing to maintain the status quo. It’s a time tested success of a strategy. The oldest use of the “we just don’t know” tactic which I’ve been able to document was in an article titled “The A.M.A.: Marijuana Warning” which was published in the June 28, 1968 (nineteen sixty eight) issue of Time Magazine.

      Now don’t go jumping to the conclusion that I want someone to make such an application. While it’s only speculation on my part, I sincerely doubt that the FDA will approve any phytocannabinoid medicine unless left with no wiggle room* for plausible deniability.

      (*no relationship to the wiggle dude)

      • strayan

        There are a number of drugs available such as opium tincture USP and cocaine hydrochloride that are not FDA approved but still available if a doctor wants to prescribe them:

        http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=405b7997-1e47-4904-96d0-72c241ed8195

        http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=24faa247-fe12-4574-881d-445b078b3e87

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          If you mean drugs like aspirin and penicillin which were grandfathered in they are FDA approved. They just did not have to go through the current process to get there. The FDA calls them GRAS medicinal substances – Generally Recognized As Safe. The part that I see dripping with irony is that absent the Anslinger/Hearst witch hunt medicinal cannabis would have received a GRAS designation and have been FDA approved.

          Try this hypothetical on for size. The first presumption in this hypothetical is that a law which is struck down as unconstitutional is null…it never really was a law. The second presumption is that medicinal cannabis wasn’t on the GRAS list because of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Since that law was struck down as unconstitutional in Leary v. United States 395 U.S. 6 (1969) it never existed. Since it never existed why the heck couldn’t we make the FDA approve cannabis based on the fact that it would have received a GRAS designation absent the law which subsequently was absent because of this legal fiction? While 48 of 48 States had criminalized cannabis for enjoyment by the time FDR signed the bill into law in 1937 it was commonplace for the pre-1937 criminalization laws to include an exception for medicinal use. If all or all but a few States included that exception wouldn’t that be compelling evidence in favor of cannabis getting that designation?

          Regardless of any of the above isn’t the GRAS designation for medicinal substances only in play for medicines in use prior to 1955?

      • Mouth

        It’s not a parody of any kind and even Nathan Poe would find MWM ridiculous. Congressman Mark Wayne Mullin (paid by us) did write back telling me that the FDA did not approve of marijuana for those reasons, in response to industrial hemp coming here to make jobs in the non-Marijuana industry i.e. clothing, hempcrete, hemp fuels, materials used for housing, biodegradable plastics etc. Why didn’t MWM email me back using an emoticon letting me know he was parodying his reasons to not implement industrial hemp? He’s too busy trying to outlaw Obama Care because of abortion, while not wanting to juggle anything else that has nothing to do with oil. I ‘Jonathan Swift’ him an email about euthanizing Central American refugees by poisoning their food with an extreme dose of heroin (cheaper than keeping them here or even sending them back) and all he could respond with is that we need to eliminate ISIS (Only because I ‘briefly’ mentioned helping our European friends do it to their Muslim refugees fleeing war and terrorism). We’re so right wing conservative here, I don’t know how to email anything serious . . . I’ve exhausted myself trying to do that.

        We could win awards for being backwards and not progressive in my state. Because oil makes money, that is proof it is clean for the environment, not a plant, which is an unnatural product, since it grows and cannot be drilled. That is the reasoning here–funded by big oil and coal.

        Your State just might be a Redneck if your Governor’s Daughter has been living in a trailer on the Capital Mansion grounds–funded by the taxpayers. Kicking her off those grounds is the epitome of Progressiveness here. Thank you Mary Fallin. For your next act, insist that ‘Carmen’ use banjos the next time they perform that opera.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    A couple of interesting statistics were released withing the last few days. In 2015 reported sales of cannabis in Colorado came up $4 million short of $1 billion. That means the State collected $130-something million in gross tax revenue. Total gross tax revenue reported increased by just under 42.5%.

    For 2015 the Colorado State Patrol reports that rather than increasing by just under 42.5 percent, the total number of drivers arrested by the CSP for being cannabis addled fell by 1.3 percent from 674 to 665. Drivers arrested solely for being cannabis addled also did not increase by just under 42.5 percent, but declined just under 2% from 354 to 347.

    I don’t think that anyone other than myself has noticed that the total number of DUI arrests made by the CSP was just under 22% higher in 2014 than in 2015. Total arrests declined by exactly 1000 from 5,546 in 2014 to 4,546 in 2015.

    OK, who besides me thinks that legal cannabis could actually be beneficial to highway safety? Where did those 1000 drunk drivers go?

  • Windy

    I often wonder why attorneys who are representing clients on cannabis charges do not use the Constitutional argument. There was no authorization in the Constitution for government to prohibit any ingestible substance prior to the 18th Amendment (which did authorize it, for a time). That authorization was removed with the 21st Amendment, and it has not been restored by any subsequent amendment being passed and ratified. Ergo, prohibition of any ingestible substance is unconstitutional, as is prohibition of growing any kind of plant. Ergo, cannabis is NOT an illegal plant nor is it an illegal ingestible substance. Clear, concise, an irrefutable argument.

    • I imagine it’s because the attorneys know that it would be pointless. I agree with you that the Constitution can and should be interpreted as not giving the federal government power to prohibit cannabis. However, since the Supreme Court has, over the years, interpreted the Constitution to give the federal government those powers, lower courts turn to established precedent as the determining factor regarding the meaning of the Constitution (regardless of how wrong or bizarre). It would take some kind of really compelling case to work its way up the system to even begin to chip away at so many years of jurisprudence. And that’s highly unlikely in most cannabis cases. I believe it would also be fruitless if the defendant was charged under state law (as is most often the case), since your argument regarding the unconstitutionality of a federal prohibition wouldn’t prevent a state prohibition.

      • Windy

        One would just need to ask the court “Is the Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land?” Once the answer is “Yes.” (It could be nothing else.) then one uses the above argument. If further proof is required just use the SCOTUS own words:

        Consider this opinion of the Supreme Court:
        The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
        The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
        An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
        Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it . . .
        A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one.
        An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law.
        Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby.
        No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
        – Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177. (late 2nd Ed. Section 256)

    • darkcycle

      Quite simply, they sidestep the entire constitutionality issue with the Commerce Clause, most recent affirmed by the Raiche decision. Since it falls under that wide and questionable interpretation, it’s defacto within their powers. Until the current overly broad interpretation is overturned (highly unlikely) the point is moot.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Well speaking of the SCOTUS (Cue the Munchkins) Antonin Scalia is in the process of assuming room temperature. Am I a bad person because I’m so happy that he’s dead that I’m almost happy that he was alive?

    Holy cow, will this delay their dismissal of Oklahoma and Nebraska v. Colorado? What the heck does it take for them to write the respective AGs of those States a note that says “pound sand”?

    • claygooding

      That is a wake I would attend and be remembered as one of the happiest attendees there.
      The GOP had Reagan appoint Kennedy as Supreme Court Justice in his last year in office,1988,is calling for Obama not to do his job and appoint a replacement,,already calling for blocking any candidate Obama sends to Congress.

      This could be the fight that costs the GOP not only the WH but the Congress also. Get er done.

    • Servetus

      It’s like the death of Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco. No one sympathizes with a dead fascist dictator. It would be considered abnormal to do so.

      Scalia sought to impose a concordant upon the country through his often unique interpretations of constitutional law, in violation thereof, recognizing Catholic canon law. It’s classic fascism. His decisions were predictable for that reason. That canon law and its progenitors helped instigate the French, Russian, Spanish, and Mexican revolutions, as well as wars such as WWI and WWII, was a mere footnote as far as Antonin Scalia was concerned, if he cared at all.

  • jean valjean

    Well Tony, is it warm enough for you down there?
    The Republican strategy of delaying the appointment of his successor until a new president is in office could backfire…. that would mean that their 25 year majority in the SCOTUS would be eliminated for the next year and maybe it will be Bernie who gets to select the new judge. Seems to me they should watch what they pray for….they are more likely to get a neutered right wing compromise candidate from Obama than Sanders…

    • jean valjean

      This comment on a Huffpo thread amused me:
      “Obama could nominate Jesus Christ and the Republicans would find a way to obstruct his nomination.”

      • DdC

        May 01, 2009 BREAKING:
        Obama to nominate Jesus Christ to Supreme Court —
        Republicans Announce Filibuster

        In a breaking story still emerging, President Barack Obama has announced the nomination of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court to replace the retiring justice David Souter.

        Republicans hastily called a press conference to announce outrage at the selection, and an immediate filibuster.

        How to save the world from the Supreme Court

        In 1937, fresh off a landslide re-election victory, and frustrated at his New Deal policies being repeatedly overturned by the Supreme Court, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed to reform the court.

        He proposed legislation allowing the president to appoint another justice to the highest court for every current member over 70 ½ years old, up to a maximum of six — effectively allowing him to load up the bench with hand-picked cronies. It’s one of the most notorious moves of FDR’s presidency, taught in schools as an ignominious abuse of power and one of his most shameful acts.

        But it’s none of those things. Changing the number of justices is a perfectly constitutional idea, and one of the few ways it’s possible to get some democratic influence on the court outside of waiting for one of the justices to retire or die. It’s time to bring it back.

        • jean valjean

          I have a feeling Obama will try a prohibitionist nominee like A.G. Loretta Lynch. I’m wondering too how this will play out for Hillary’s chances….I’m sure her “feminist” (read Corporate) backers will try to make this about Roe v. Wade as a distraction to her history of war-mongering and race-baiting. Here’s a glimpse into the personality of her self-confessed mentor, Henry Kissinger:

          http://www.alternet.org/world/top-10-most-inhuman-henry-kissinger-quotes

        • DdC

          “We can’t be so fixated on our desire
          to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.”
          – Bill Clinton

          “Today, America would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all people of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the world government.”
          – Henry Kissinger (Bilderburg Conference 1991 Evians, France)

          Nixon’s Treason
          http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/486
          Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1
          http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1650

  • Windy

    http://thefreethoughtproject.com/2-month-old-baby-youngest-patient-receive-cannabis-treatment-hospital/#OZmaXHEHXxAyI7Mh.99

    “I sat for a good three weeks fighting with the doctors and trying to talk them into giving me the okay,” Nicole said. “I’ve been working with the case study team and the neurology team here at children’s and I’m hopeful this will work.”

    This week, doctors finally agreed to let the cannabis oil into the hospital to treat Amylea.

    “For us to get the approval for us to administer it while she in the NICU while she’s a patient…it’s kind of like a miracle,” Nicole said. “Because they were completely against it saying, ‘No you can’t do it, you have to wait until she’s an out-patient.”

    Even though the doctors gave the approval to treat Amylea with the oil, they won’t administer it to her, so the family has done it themselves.

    Amylea has only had a handful of doses, but her parents say the nurses have already noticed a positive change.

    According to the family, Amylea is the first and youngest patient to ever receive cannabis oil as a treatment in a hospital.

    The significance of cannabis oil being used to treat an infant in a hospital should not be overlooked. What this move effectively illustrates is that cannabis is a viable medical option, and its current classification by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug is as absurd as it is immoral.

  • Servetus

    Last year, the Italian government finally made a legal distinction between cannabis and so-called hard drugs. Today, Italy’s MPs are considering legalizing cannabis. What’s driving this new renaissance attitude?

    The shift in attitude towards legalization is largely motivated by the county’s €2.17 trillion debt, which stands at 132 percent of Italy’s GDP.

    Politicians hope that by legalizing cannabis use they can collect money through taxation as well as divert resources that are currently being used to fight illegal cannabis use.

    A recent study published by research group lavoce.info suggested that legal cannabis use could boost Italy’s GDP by between 1.30 and 2.34 percent. But more than money, legalization is also seen as a useful step in Italy’s fight against the mafia.

    The International Business Times reported that the estimated value of the marijuana market in Italy is currently €30 billion a year – the vast majority of which ends up lining the pockets of mafia drug cartels.

    First, Pope Francis excommunicates the mafia, now this. It’s getting so the mafia can’t make a dishonest living. Many of the legalizing factions will likely get a boost once UNGASS meets in April of this year.

    Source: http://www.thelocal.it/20150728/is-italy-about-to-legalize-cannabis

  • Servetus

    Bill Maher lights up during a monologue on legalization. Warns us we’re not totally there yet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_4ND12gEOs

    • jean valjean

      I’m glad someone mainstream like Bill Maher has mentioned the difference between gay marriage and drug reform…. nobody loses income when gay people marry, unlike prison investors, DEA and police (plus a whole load of other parasites Maher didn’t mention) if the drug war boondoggle is brought to an end. No doubt Obama is looking forward to a whole heap of “speaking fees” from Wall St for being a good boy after January next year.

  • Will

    OT, from Maia Szalavitz

    8 Ways America’s Scandal-Plagued Rehab Industry Needs to Clean Up Its Act

    http://tinyurl.com/jn2v7ap

    A fun passage;

    “[I]n no other area of medicine do insurers pay for hours of group “therapy,” films and lectures that consist overwhelmingly of indoctrination into the teachings of a self-help group, available for free in church basements.”

    Zing!

    • jean valjean

      You beat me to it Will. The business model of many treatment centers is totally dependent on prohibition to round up customers, leading to poor service and management lazyness. This was one bit which struck me as insightful:

      “The great harm reductionist Alan Marlatt (RIP) frequently used an analogy that compared the rehab industry to other customer-focused businesses. A car company, he noted, faced with declining sales and lack of consumer interest, would not complain that customers are “in denial” about the quality of their vehicles. Nor would it try to have the government arrest people who refused to buy their cars. Instead, they’d improve their offerings—or, at the very least, their marketing and consumer outreach.”

  • Servetus

    Marijuana legalization and drug law reform has an enemy that rarely gets mentioned, except indirectly. The enemy is Producerism.

    Under producerism, a type of master/slave society, a person’s value is determined by how productive they are according to certain, set standards. The business sector’s conclusion has always been that marijuana consumers are too dysfunctional to make good little producers. Thus the efforts to eliminate the “parasite”. Producerism doesn’t just affect marijuana customers:

    Calls to rally the virtuous “producing classes” against evil “parasites” at both the top and bottom of society is a tendency called producerism. It is a conspiracist narrative used by repressive right wing populism. Today we see examples of it in some sectors of the Christian Right, in the Patriot movements and armed militias, and in the Far right. — http://www.publiceye.org/tooclose/producerism.html

    And more specifically:

    There also exists a white supremacist use of producerism. In this version, the productive middle class is really a stand-in term for white people, and the threats to the middle class from above and below are code words respectively for the international Jewish conspiracy and people of color. Any explicit racism may be further muddled with additional dog whistles: international bankers or the plutocracy to really mean Jews (also the Hollywood establishment and tenured Marxist university professors), and an ever-present threat to the silent majority from crime, drugs, gangs, illegal immigrants, voter fraud, Willie Horton, anchor babies, Ice-T’s “Cop Killer”, Sista Souljah, graffiti, and single moms on welfare driving Cadillacs.

    For an example of this sort of rhetoric with the racist overtones moderated into mere undertones, see Richard M. Nixon, particularly his Southern Strategy and appeals to the “Silent Majority”. For a more radical and explicit example, Willis Carto made a career of (barely) disguising his hardline anti-Semitism and pro-Hitler views as populism and standing up for “the forgotten middle class” using producerist framing. — http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Producerism

    Producerism explains the current government attacks on welfare recipients, whereby recipients are subjected to drug testing. For the offending government, it’s a twofer. While this is happening, drug law reformers are made to feel a need to prove to the world that drug consumers are good producers. They are good producers, of course, as much as anyone else, if not better in some cases. They shouldn’t need to prove it. Whether a person is a good producer is a private matter, or a matter between an employer and an employee. Neither the government, nor its judicial system, should assume any role, given how officials typically implement producer-based laws.

  • DdC

    Producerism falls in line with my theory on ECS deficiency from 12,000 years of use into a cold turkey prohibition. CAT scans determined brain fear centers are larger in “conservative” or non using people. More dependence on authority. Those not abstaining are those questioning authority. Not good for business if business is as usual. The entire concept of urine testing is to weed out the undesirables who might question their methods. We know it has nothing to do with impairment. The flip side of prison cages are asylum rehab cages. Depending where your investments are. Plus the corporate competition kept out of the way with prohibition is a factor. Producerism sucks.