The New York Times on Raich
Raich: Oral Argument Report

Federalism and Freedom

Federalism is not good because it creates "states rights."  Federalism is good because it furthers individual liberty.  I pray the Court will remember that Ashcroft v. Raich is about freedom.  Is a woman free to use the only life-saving medicine available, or should her body rot to death?

In considering whether Congress can trump California's decision to decriminalize medicial marijuana, the Court should remember James Madison's words:

In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among the distinct and separate departments.  Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people.  The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.  The Federalist No. 51, p. 323 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) (J. Madison). 

By limiting the States and Congress to their proper prerogatives, the People will enjoy greater freedom since the structure of federalism would prevent Congressional overreaching into local affairs.  The people will have two servants, not two masters.  See also, Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, 458-459 (1991) ("Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance between federal and state power lies at the heart of liberty.")

I pray the Court does not pretend that Congress has the authority to regulate Ms. Raich's conduct, especially when such a fiction would lead to loss of liberty.

Comments