Medical Federalism: Where Are We Headed?

  Medical Federalism: Where Are We Headed?

Posted by CN Staff on March 30, 2005 at 07:24:36 PT
By Neal Pierce 
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press  

Bedrock American federalism — separation of powers, the basic rights of states to make their own decisions — got a big boost from the state and federal courts' refusal to bend to Congress' impetuous lawmaking in the Terri Schiavo case.Now a slump in presidential poll approval ratings suggests that the Bush White House — having forsaken ideals of states' rights and limited federal power trumpeted by conservatives for decades — is paying a political price.
But the case is hardly an exception. On issue after issue, notes former Maine Attorney General James Tierney, the Bush administration has ignored states' rights to play to its religious right and corporate constituencies."The president is so confident he believes he can sweep all opposition aside," Tierney says. "But that's why we have federalism and a Constitution carefully constructed to stop excessive power, whether it's a Roosevelt or a Bush."Following in the wake of the Schiavo case, two highly emotional, medical and life-choice issues — both presently on the Supreme Court's docket— are likely to test the limits of federal power. Each involves the federal Controlled Substances Act.First is medical marijuana, in a case challenging states' rights to allow the use of cannabis for people who are either dying or suffering severe, chronic pain. Medical marijuana use is now the law in 10 states — Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — and is currently before other state legislatures.Apparently moved by heart-rending stories of people relieved from nightmarishly extreme pain by use of marijuana, up to 80 percent of Americans, in polls, endorse medical marijuana use. But federal policymakers, apparently still wed to the country's decades-long, clearly failed "war on drugs," remain adamantly opposed to any form of marijuana legalization.The Justice Department, relying on Congress' right to regulate trade among the states, argues that even small amounts of marijuana obtained for free are somehow part of a national market for illicit drugs.Advocates of experimentation in the states were encouraged when the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a states' rights advocate, struck down two seemingly far-fetched efforts to use the interstate commerce clause to assert federal jurisdiction. One case was a federal law criminalizing the possession of guns near schools; another was national legislation giving rape victims the right to sue attackers in federal court.Similarly, common sense would seem to say that small amounts of marijuana grown and used locally have negligible impact on interstate commerce. But when the court heard the marijuana case in November, several of the justices were skeptical about the state laws.Later this year the Supreme Court also will hear arguments on Oregon's celebrated Death With Dignity Law, the physician-assisted suicide statute twice approved by Oregon voters. The law allows a doctor to prescribe lethal drugs for a resident who has an incurable disease, is likely to die within six months and is mentally competent to make the choice. A second physician must approve.The Bush Justice Department has tried to overturn Oregon's law, claiming there's "no legitimate medical purpose" for prescribing drugs that could end a patient's life. But two lower federal courts have sided with Oregon's contention that regulation of medical practice has historically been a state, not a federal, prerogative. And now the Supreme Court gets to decide.An ironic question is raised by both the medical marijuana and assisted suicide cases: Will the "activist judges" of the high court override the right of the states to experiment and make judgments on tough pain-control and end-of-life issues?And second, shouldn't the core principle be: let states, and in turn individuals and their families, decide for themselves?Results of the Oregon law show what may happen. Fears of thousands of assisted suicide decisions haven't materialized: Over seven years, just 208 Oregonians have elected to end their lives under the law.And a culture of end-of-life death with thoughtfulness and care has developed. Among the states, Oregon has one of the highest rates of people dying at home, the lowest percentages dying in hospitals. Morphine use for control of extreme pain is the highest of any state. Oregon medical schools and doctors are focusing on comfort care for the dying.What's to dislike — or illegal — about that?Peirce is a national columnist who writes about state and local affairs. Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)Author: Neal PiercePublished: March 30, 2005Copyright: 2005 St. Paul Pioneer PressContact: letters pioneerpress.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Marijuana on Trial Really Consider Cannabis My Miracle Marijuana vs. The War on Drugs 

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Comment #24 posted by Toker00 on March 31, 2005 at 03:57:16 PT
Max Flowers
Thanks for the heads up on the spelling. Sorry I confused you. For the sake of clarification: CORPORATICIAN. My bad. Hey, what about Korporatician? : )Peace. Legalize then Revolutionize!(medicine)(energy)(nutrition) 
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Comment #23 posted by Max Flowers on March 30, 2005 at 23:31:20 PT
Oh, okay but then shouldn't you spell it "corporatician"? If you had, I'd have gotten it. The suffix "-tion" suggests something entirely different from "-cian"
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Comment #22 posted by Toker00 on March 30, 2005 at 20:16:25 PT
Absolutely. Because, indeed, thought is the origin of speech.Thanks to the speed of info transfer,(internet) and the effort of everyday citizens to educate themselves about what our government really is, as opposed to what the controlled media tells us it is , and learning what words like "freedom" and "democracy" and "fascism" and "new world order" actually mean, maybe it won't be as long as we think. But as long as cruelty goes unchecked, it hurts all of humanity. I say we are at the end of the epoch that destroys humanity and at the beginning of the epoch that enlightens us. But it is up to the ones who want it bad enough to make it happen. And our numbers are growing. Free Will! Free Will! Free Will!They need to re-word the Patriot Act to protect the people from terrorists, not the government from the people.Peace. Legalize, then Revolutionize! 
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Comment #21 posted by ngeo on March 30, 2005 at 18:47:31 PT:
Freedom of Speech TokerOO
TokerOO, I believe that the guarantee of freedom of speech must also guarantee freedom of thought. (In Canada the Charter of Rights guarantees freedom of thought specifically, but no one has ever challenged Canadian prohibition on it, which makes me wonder!?) Because how can a person be free to speak but not free to think? Thought is an integral requirement of speech, is it not? I wrote to NORML (U.S.) about this and somebody from there wrote back and basically said yes, that's interesting but it's not going to happen in this EPOCH. (He used the word epoch.) I wonder what epoch it will have to be before someone really thinks about this?
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Comment #20 posted by Toker00 on March 30, 2005 at 18:09:01 PT
That's the Movie I've been waiting for,FoM.
It's gonna bring what we've been saying for years to the box office. I just hope it helps.Corporatition is a word I made up to describe modern day
politicians. They back corporate policies, and do not represent the interests of the people. Actually, I can't claim the word, for others surely have coined it. But I didn't copy it from anyone.Peace. Legalize, then Revolutionize.(medicine)(energy)(nutrition) 
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Comment #19 posted by Max Flowers on March 30, 2005 at 17:49:12 PT
What is a "corporatition"?
Is that a typo of corporation? If so, I never heard of corporations swearing oaths to the Constitution. Can you clarify, Toker00?
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 17:21:20 PT
I'm going to be ordering this movie soon.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 16:51:19 PT

global_warming and Toker00
GW I do believe that scripture. Some would say see they are starving Mrs. Schiavo to death and making her die of thirst so that's bad. That's not true because before extraordinary means to extend a persons existence on this earth Mrs. Schiavo would have died in a short time after she had her heart attack. Why don't the right wing extremists get that? I wouldn't have ever had an abortion but I don't believe I have the right or duty to tell someone else they can't have an abortion. Toker00 I agree with you.
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Comment #16 posted by global_warming on March 30, 2005 at 16:39:33 PT

Excellent Choice FOM
It really says it well,..
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Comment #15 posted by Toker00 on March 30, 2005 at 16:39:07 PT

It might as well be a police state.
I just don't understand why a lawyer hasn't been able to come up with a constitutional defense for Cannabis. All these Corporatitions take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Our unalienable rights were not given to us by the Constitution, but they are protected by it. And no amendment to the Constitution has changed this. Our rights, according to the Constitution, come from the God of Creation. This same God created Cannabis. You cannot seperate the two. Corporatitions MUST defend our rights as men and women to excercise free will. God Given Free Will. Otherwise they have given us the right to replace our entire Government. Period. There is nothing Christ-like about the governing Right Wing Christians. To be like Christ is to be compassionate. To be like Christ would be to stomp on unjust laws and cast out corruption from the halls of justice. Our leaders have betrayed both the people and their creator. Satan laughs and wraps his wings around the corporatitions. They have served him well. It's the Fascist Conservatives who have bastardized our government by not defending the Background Constitution. If it is right to protect the minority from a cruel majority, then it stands to reason that we should also protect the majority from a cruel minority.  Peace. Legalize, then Revolutionize.(medicine)(energy)(nutrition)
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 16:01:08 PT

They were called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and they destroyed Kerry. I was raised Catholic so I know how the Church believes. The thing about morality is it is subjective. I hope I'm saying this right. Morality is more then if someone is gay or is pro choice or for the right to die with dignity. They pick a few issues and make them monumental in the eyes of society but being moral and good is based on much more then a few hot button issues. I stand on this.
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Comment #13 posted by gloovins on March 30, 2005 at 15:26:21 PT

Yep, FoM
right again. You are a wise woman. They screen ALL different opinioned people out that's why I never can stomach it, so..Take a look at this article, sorta off-topic but insightful on how it speaks of...well here is the excerpt that caught my eye...and maybe some cn affianadoes too:The group leading the charge is called USA Next, one of the largest lobbying groups in the country, funneling millions of dollars from industries onto the airwaves. In contrast with the AARP, which is dependent upon individual contributions and membership fees, USA Next is virtually a money laundering program for corporations. A mailing or television advertisement opposing buying prescription drugs from Canada, after all, has less impact when it is labeled as sponsored by a company that makes money selling prescription drugs in the United States. USA Next steps in as the middle man; taking millions of dollars from corporations and spending those millions on political efforts: about $10 million every year since 2002. In 2002, as the New York Times points out, USA Next was the top spender among interest groups on elections for the House of Representative in the entire country. That same year, the Public Citizen’s Congress Watch condemned USA Next as led by “hired guns” for industry and the right wing.
internet op/ed fm
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 14:57:28 PT

They do screen people. Only those that they want get in to events. That's one of the reasons why all we see are people who seem to be supportive.
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Comment #11 posted by gloovins on March 30, 2005 at 14:50:16 PT

If Bush don't like ya....
You can't even get into a town meeting with him...we are offically in a police state...wonder if having bumper sticker would warrant a removal. Now THAT'S a REAL threat to big March 30, 4:49 AM
Removel of Three From Bush Visit ProbedThe Secret Service is investigating the claims of three people who say they were removed from President Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security last week because of a bumper sticker on their car that read: "No More Blood for Oil."The three said they had obtained tickets to the event through the office of Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., had passed through security and were preparing to take their seats when they were approached by what they thought was a Secret Service agent who asked them to leave.Alex Young, 25, who was among the three removed, said officials told them the next day they were identified as belonging to the "No Blood for Oil" group.Lon Garner, the agent in charge of the Secret Service office in Denver, said the Secret Service had nothing to do with the three being asked to leave. Garner declined to release further details, citing an ongoing investigation."We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution," Garner said.Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, called the removal of the three people an egregious violation of their First Amendment rights."They're screening the people who are allowed to come and then they're profiling them in the parking lot," he said. "It's quite extraordinary, and disappointing." MMMM, yes I agree quite extraordinary. Tell me, am I wrong or do we live in a messed up country where your bumper stickers are now profiled and won't let you speak with an elected official? I want outta here...
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 13:57:00 PT

I agree with that article. When the news is getting me down I turn off the sound and turn on music and I feel better almost instantly. Music is good for the soul I believe. 
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Comment #9 posted by potpal on March 30, 2005 at 13:38:54 PT

fom - fyi Muzzic is magic.
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on March 30, 2005 at 12:22:50 PT 
Mar 31 05 The Charles Goyette Show 09:00 AM Howard Wooldridge Phoenix Arizona USA 
 Board Member Howard Wooldridge will be a guest on The Charles Goyette Show on radio station 1010 KXXT. Howard will be discussing the mission of his cross country trip and also specifics related to America's failed drug prohbition policies. Visit Mr. Goyette's web site at: Listen live on the net at: Follow Howard's journey at:
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 11:57:39 PT

I am at a point in my life that it's hard to dazzle me but this station is. Heck they're singing about a clothes dryer now! LOL!
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Comment #6 posted by potpal on March 30, 2005 at 11:54:49 PT

Keep in mind that it is eclectic programming. Check the program schedule for muzzic that suits your taste if it is not 'all' muzzic...Glad you like it! Let the good times roll.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 11:41:15 PT

This is a really cool radio station. I bookmarked it. When we went to see Neil Young in Cleveland they had music playing much like this until the concert started and I really liked it. New Orleans is such a special place. So many cultures have blended there. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 11:07:24 PT

I'm listening to the radio station you posted. I never heard any music like this. It's good! Thanks!
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Comment #3 posted by potpal on March 30, 2005 at 10:57:41 PT

ot - this and that
It's official...
Human activity 'threatens Earth'...  duh! Colombia police find cocaine sub... story about disgruntled peasants in Colombia re: spraying but I can't remember where I saw it this am?Listening to WWOZ...(best station on the planet) jock was talking about celebrating the 'caffeine culture' of New Orleans...hope someday we will together celebrate 'cannabis culture', in New Orleans, why not. Been to 8 jazz fests and remember a policeman tapping a girl on the shoulder and asking her 'could you please put that out...', so matter of factly, another funny story re: nawlins, leaving Jimmie's at 5 in the morning, never know it with Marcia Ball bogeying her leg off, a guy in front of me stopped to ask a pretty serious looking state trooper at the door if it were alright to carry his beer (in a plastic cup) out the door, the cop looked at the guy and asked the question 'What city you from?', the guy said 'Seattle', the trooper replied, 'You can do anything you want in this town'. Viva New Orleans.Aloha.

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Comment #2 posted by b4daylight on March 30, 2005 at 10:29:06 PT

stand up
This is a pretty good article...
I think it is too bad the majority of Americans put up with this crap where they let Bush do whatever he wants and congress, on many of issuses.....another note
Let me decide its my Frikin body...
 I do not
drink alcohol,
use tabbacoo,
and drink caffine
where is the crime in pot and mushrroms?Make it all illegal or legal one or the other...
because now you look like a hypocrite allowing one thing and not the others. Locking up only one certian group, but not the others, would make you a bigot and a criminal yourself. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 30, 2005 at 09:11:19 PT

Have A Wonderful Time at The Conference
I don't know if we will hear anything from the Supreme Court this week. I want to wish everyone a safe trip and hope everyone gets refreshed and fired up for the battle ahead. We've come a long way in a relatively short time.
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