Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thomas Still a Federalist

Thomas has upheld his place as my favorite justice with this dissent:

I agree with limiting the applications of the CSA in a manner consistent with the principles of federalism and our constitutional structure. Raich, supra, at ___ (THOMAS, J., dissenting); cf. Whitman, supra, at 486-487 (THOMAS, J., concurring) (noting constitutional concerns with broad delegations of authority to administrative agencies). But that is now water over the dam. The relevance of such considerations was at its zenith in Raich, when we considered whether the CSA could be applied to the intrastate possession of a controlled substance consistent with the limited federal powers enumerated by the Constitution. Such considerations have little, if any, relevance where, as here, we are merely presented with a question of statutory interpretation, and not the extent of constitutionally permissible federal power. This is particularly true where, as here, we are interpreting broad, straightforward language within a statutory framework that a majority of this Court has concluded is so comprehensive that it necessarily nullifies the States'" 'traditional . . . powers . . . to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens.'" Raich, supra, at ___, n. 38 (slip op., at 27, n. 38). The Court's reliance upon the constitutional principles that it rejected in Raich -- albeit under the guise of statutory interpretation -- is perplexing to say the least.

With the exception of Thomas I find it hard to believe that any of the Justices actually follow anything even resembling a judicial philosophy these days. Federalism or no? I guess it depends if federalism gets you the outcome that you want.

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