Last week I posted my longest column to date about Rand Paul's lawsuit against President Obama, and it did okay. However, my previous column containing three shorter summaries of that week's news was far more popular. Well Facebook friends, you've passively spoken and I'm actively listening! Far be it from me to push the upper limits of today's short attention spans. So without further ado...
Supreme Court Stays Mum on Guns
On Monday of this week, the Supreme Court denied three new petitions seeking to define the edges of the 2nd Amendment. The highest court in the land has maintained a de facto ban on all Second Amendment cases since their landmark ruling in the 2010 case of McDonald vs. Chicago. Ostensibly to let the states and lower Federal courts do some of the heavy lifting.
Without comment, the Justices denied petitions to hear the cases of NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms , NRA v. McCraw and Lane v. Holder. All three cases were weighed in private conference.
In NRA v. ATF and NRA v. McCraw, the National Rifle Association has petitioned the Court to more fully define the Second Amendment right to bear arms in public and the rights of people under the age of 21 to own handguns. Lane v. Holder focuses on the constitutionality of existing laws regulating the sale of firearms.
On the positive side, the lower courts have been making progress in picking up where McDonald left off. And if you're a supporter of the Second Amendment, the rulings have often been favorable. For example, the February ruling by California's Ninth Circuit Court in the case of Peruta vs. San Diego that the state of California does not have the right to completely deny citizens the right to bear arms outside of their homes.
I predict the Supreme Court will continue to sit on their hands, waiting for the gray areas deliberately left in their McDonald ruling to be filled in by the states. Only once the most clear-cut and pressing issues have been defined do I expect them to get involved.
CO Governor Warns Other States off of Weed
As we briefly covered in this week's show, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is advocating the slow road to marijuana legalization. According to the Associated Press, Hickenlooper spent much of his time at last weekend's National Governor's Association meeting cautioning other state's chief executives from too hastily following Colorado into the land of green fields and purple haze.
According to Hickenlooper, he's met with "half a dozen" governors hoping to learn more about Colorado's experiences thus far. He went on to mention that many of those leaders "felt this was a wave" rolling inevitably to their states. Never the less, he recommends a more measured approach...
"When governors have asked me, and several have, I say that we don't have the facts. We don't know what the unintended consequences are going to be. I urge caution... (and) wait a couple of years."
By surveying other governors at the meetings, those "unintended consequences" appear to revolve around marijuana use by minors. With some, like Indiana Governor Mike Pence, seeing it as a deal breaker for their state.
"I just have a longstanding belief that legalizing marijuana would not be in the interest of our youth or our people," said Pence, a Republican. "And I'll maintain my position in opposition to legalization as long as I'm governor."
While others are still hung up on the idea of marijuana as a "gateway drug," leading society down a path of ills paved with unintended consequences. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, for example, calls marijuana legalization "bad policy" and has no intentions of seeing his state join Colorado and Washington.
"It's a segue drug that I think ends up creating a lot more problems than it solves," said Branstad.
Clearly for those of us working to end marijuana prohibition, our toils are far from over. The fears of those in opposition are as valid as they are unchanged and it remains up to us and the example being set right now in Colorado and Washington to convince them otherwise.