Federalism Distorted (February 6, 2006)

Federalism questions – those involving the interplay of federal and state law – are determined by ideology not principle or doctrine.  When a state desires to allow a citizen to use medical marijuana, the Right embraces federal law limitations to preclude individual choice because the Right dislikes dope.  When a state offers to allow and regulate assisted suicide, the Right embraces federal law limitations to preclude individual choice because the Right decides who gets to decide.  However, when the federal government respects a fundamental right that is anathema to the Right’s agenda, the Right disregards the commerce clause and other constitutional safeguards and embraces states’ rights to trump the federal provision and rights.  These are the rules of the game.  The rule of law has been replaced by the law of rules.

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