The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 prohibits the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana in all its forms. State and federal law are at odds. The constitution is plain: Federal law is the “supreme law of the land”.
Our national history is replete with conflicts between the laws of the states and those of the federal government, which has left deep marks on our history.
Like the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions opposing the Alien and Sedition Acts to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 to the Massive Resistance of Southern states against federal efforts to end segregation.
The federal government seems to be letting the states go their own way. Obama explained that he has “bigger fish to fry” than enforcing our nations marijuana LAWS, noting that countering CO. and WH defiance is not a “top priority” for his adm. (enforcing the law is not a priority???). “As head of the executive branch he’s supposed to be carrying out the laws”. Our entire constitutional order is built upon the proposition tha the president is not the promulgator of law but its chief enforcer.
The Glorious Revolution brought such caprice to an end, compelling the king to abide by the will of Parliament. The Federalist 69 by Hamilton explained American president must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. It is the cornerstone of the Founders vision of limited and divided government.
In that structure a president many only refuse to enforce a law if it is plainly unconstitutional, a power that is as antique as it is rarely employed. The president may also exercise discretion in declining to prosecute in certain cases—fast and furious, tax fraud, Benghazi and etc.
That these prosecutions would be a waste of resources. Holder was well within his rights when he declined , on more than a dozen occasions to bring charges against American corporations under the foreign corrupt practice act despite evidence that the law had been broken. JUST LOOK THE OTHER WAY.
In June he announced that he would no longer enforce federal immigration law against 800,000 young people. Where does the power to dispense with inconvenient or unpopular laws end??
Can he ignore the federal law that define marriage, can he ignore laws that prohibit the use of quotas in employment. What is to stop a future pro-gun adm from deciding not to enforce statues designed to punish felons who possess firearms?
Obamacare has put state laws into conflict with federal laws. Obama is not going to allow those states to defy Washington. This time, it will be convenient for the president to assert his power as our chief law enforcement officer.
The Obama’s DOJ likened the federal power to coerce states into observing national health regulations to the federal power to coerce states into observing federal drug laws. In defending Obamacare while ignoring the controlled substance act, the Obama adm wants to have it both ways. Where in the past we had judicial disregard of the constitution and laws duly passed by congress, now we have executive disregard of the same. Adding insult to injury is the deafening silence from liberal that has greeted president Obama’s executive caprice. These same liberals were denouncing Bush for a far less serious constitutional transgression. When Bush used signing statements he was greeted by howls of protest from liberal jurists. 2006-American Bar Assoc. “presidents constitutional duty is to enforce laws he has signed into being unless and until they are held unconditional by the Supreme Court or a subordinate tribunal”.
What a difference a change in political party means when it come to outrage. Where are the howls of protest now?
The president when challenged has defended his use of discretion by declaring—as he did in the case of immigration—that it was “the right thing to do”. Have we reached another way station on the road to becoming a government not of law but of men?
Source—weekly standard, brett talley