Tuesday, December 30, 2014

AG Jon Bruning, 'fair weather federalist', may subvert state's rights in suit against CO weed law

Slate raked the attorneys-general of both Nebraska and Oklahoma, depicting them both, in essence, as ammoral, craven opportunists whose "silly" lawsuit, if successful, could threaten state's rights: 
     ...when another state decides to experiment with a new drug policy, Bruning and Pruitt’s support for state sovereignty dries up. They are arguing that Congress’s prohibition against marijuana should force every state to prohibit it as well. (These attorneys general aren’t opposed to all intoxicants. Their position on marijuana might have something to do with the fact that both Bruning and Pruitt have received significant campaign contributions from alcohol industries.)
     This strange little lawsuit against Colorado is so astonishingly hypocritical, so brazenly antipodal to Bruning and Pruitt’s professed philosophy, that even admirers of both men are aghast. Case Western Law’s Jonathan H. Adler, the mastermind behind the latest Obamacare suit, noted with disgust that “it is as if their arguments about federalism and state autonomy were not arguments of principle but rather an opportunistic effort to challenge federal policies they don’t like on other grounds.” Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett, who brought the first Obamacare suit from the fringe to the mainstream, wrote that “I see no other way to interpret Nebraska and Oklahoma’s lawsuits than as an example of ‘fair weather federalism.’ ” (Federalism describes the balance of power between states and the central government; self-described federalists favor increased state autonomy.)      What has Adler and Barnett so riled up about the marijuana lawsuit isn’t just the rank hypocrisy. It’s the precedent...
Read the entire, withering critique at Slate.

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