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Interstate Commerce Clause

Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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8/13/2010 9:52:16 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I noticed a discussion in the news forum about Mexican drug Cartels and how legalizing drugs could possibly alleviate the terrible conditions Mexicans endure. I would like to start a related topic regarding the legal basis of the Controlled Substances Act to educate the DDO community on exactly how the government regulates drugs.

The CSA is THE law that allows the government to criminalize drugs. The federal government, because of the Constitution, has a very limited amount of things it can do; most duties are left to the state. The precise Constitutional clause that allows the CSA is the interstate commerce clause.

The ICC was designed to help keep the states trading in a healthy manner. The federal government's role is to make sure that interstate goods flow without any prohibitive tariffs or regulations. The government bases the CSA on the ICC; otherwise it would have absolutely no authority to interfere in the internal affairs of each state.

Gonzalez v. Raich 2004 challenged this relationship. You can read the quick summation of the case here: http://www.oyez.org...

Legalese is hard to digest at first, so I will further summarize. The question the case dealt with is "Does the Constitution, through the ICC, allow the federal government to enforce the CSA?"

The Court ruled that it does, because drugs are basically constituents of a larger market that is essentially interstate. Since the drug market is interstate, it can be controlled by the ICC. Let me rephrase this: if I grow a marijuana plant in my back yard and consume it personally, the federal government has decided that since I could possibly take that plant across state lines and sell it that I need to have my plant controlled by the interstate commerce clause. This is how we derive federal drug laws.

Most people on DDO discuss our inability to test drivers effectively for drugs, polling, the ill health effects, the problems in the workplace... These are all COMPLETELY MOOT legal arguments. By making these arguments you are trashing the US Constitution. The US government has absolutely no legitimate authority to micromanage our daily lives. The fact that it is usually the conservatives that support this activity is additionally perplexing, and quite frankly the Tea Party morons are proving how fake they really are by not giving this blatant misuse of federal power any airtime. They are not truly concerned with limiting government power; they are only concerned with delivering conservatism through a brand-new avenue.

So if the government can regulate a plant I grow in my backyard, because I could possibly use it in interstate commerce, then where do we draw the line? I could grow raspberries in my backyard and use them in interstate trade. The CSA, therefore, opens up the loophole that raspberries (and in turn basically anything in existence) can be controlled by the ICC.

One could say that the drug market has been established as a proven interstate phenomenon, but the only reason that this is true is because THEY ARE ILLEGAL IN THE FIRST PLACE. If drugs were legal they would be produced locally, without question. That's not to say they were never transported or that there would never be an instance where they would be transported interstate, but again, anything and everything we can possibly possess can travel in interstate commerce.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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8/13/2010 9:59:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Wait, so ICC means the Feds can ensure that states can't put up tariffs and regulations against trade with other states, but the CSA allows the Fed to prohibit certain products, namely, drugs? I'd call that a contradiction, a paradox and hypocrisy.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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8/13/2010 10:06:16 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The commerce clause as stated is ridiculous in itself...

But recognizing these kinds of interpretations of the commerce clause undermines the legitimacy of the institution of the law itself
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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8/13/2010 10:08:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The Interstate Commerce Clause is essentially the "do whatever you want" clause for the federal goverment. Someone once tried to ban guns from schools through the ICC in one of the most embarassing arguments known to man.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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8/13/2010 10:16:02 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 10:08:07 AM, mongeese wrote:
The Interstate Commerce Clause is essentially the "do whatever you want" clause for the federal goverment. Someone once tried to ban guns from schools through the ICC in one of the most embarassing arguments known to man.

Link?
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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8/13/2010 10:18:09 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 9:59:00 AM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Wait, so ICC means the Feds can ensure that states can't put up tariffs and regulations against trade with other states, but the CSA allows the Fed to prohibit certain products, namely, drugs? I'd call that a contradiction, a paradox and hypocrisy.

united we stand, divided we fall. etc.

http://webs.rps205.com...

absurd use of the law though. in fact i think the time of usefulness for the ICC, if it ever was truly useful, is long past...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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8/13/2010 10:18:29 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 10:16:02 AM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 8/13/2010 10:08:07 AM, mongeese wrote:
The Interstate Commerce Clause is essentially the "do whatever you want" clause for the federal goverment. Someone once tried to ban guns from schools through the ICC in one of the most embarassing arguments known to man.

Link?

"Who Killed the Constitution?" by Thomas E. Woods.
mongoose
Posts: 3,500
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8/13/2010 10:21:36 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Rob, the ICC has been used a long time before that. FDR tried to use it to regulate a man growing wheat on his own property for his own consumption because if he does this, he doesn't buy it elsewhere, and thus it affects interstate commerce as he could have been buying it out of state, and thus it is interstate commerce.... what?
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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8/13/2010 11:03:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 10:08:07 AM, mongeese wrote:
The Interstate Commerce Clause is essentially the "do whatever you want" clause for the federal goverment. Someone once tried to ban guns from schools through the ICC in one of the most embarassing arguments known to man.

I remember studying that case as well... circa 1990 or 91 I believe. But again, it's been abused so thoroughly at this point, its almost surprising the Court ruled against it.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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8/13/2010 11:05:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/13/2010 10:21:36 AM, mongoose wrote:
Rob, the ICC has been used a long time before that. FDR tried to use it to regulate a man growing wheat on his own property for his own consumption because if he does this, he doesn't buy it elsewhere, and thus it affects interstate commerce as he could have been buying it out of state, and thus it is interstate commerce.... what?

Oh yes! This forum is one big deja vu session from my ConLaw class. I'm going to have to whip out my briefs when I get home from work to get caught up.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.