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Encyclopedia > Gonzales v. Raich
Gonzales v. Raich

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued November 29, 2004
Decided June 6, 2005
Full case name: Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. v. Angel McClary Raich, et al.
Citations: 545 U.S. 1; 125 S. Ct. 2195; 162 L. Ed. 2d 1; 2005 U.S. LEXIS 4656; 73 U.S.L.W. 4407; 18 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 327
Prior history: Raich v. Ashcroft, 248 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal.), rev'd, 352 F.3d 1222 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. granted, 542 U.S. 936 (2004)
Subsequent history: None
Holding
Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.
Court membership
Chief Justice: William Rehnquist
Associate Justices: John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
Majority by: Stevens
Joined by: Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Concurrence by: Scalia
Dissent by: O'Connor
Joined by: Rehnquist (part I, II), Thomas (parts I, II)
Dissent by: Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3, 18 (the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses); Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-971 (2000); Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11362.5 (West Supp. 2005)

Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 6, 2005 that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution which allows the United States Congress "To regulate Commerce ... among the several States," Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes. Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Seal of the U.S. Congress. ... A Cannabis sativa plant Look up marijuana in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A catalog page offering Cannabis sativa extract. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) is a former American jurist and politician who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is a United States Supreme Court Justice. ... Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ... The necessary and proper clause (also known as the elastic clause) refers to Section 8 of Article One of the United States Constitution: To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the... The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 801 et sequitur). ... Proposition 215 was a proposition in the state of California on the November 5, 1996 ballot. ... // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters or law reports. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ... The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... Seal of the U.S. Congress. ... A Cannabis sativa plant The drug cannabis, also called marijuana, is produced from parts of the cannabis plant, primarily the cured flowers and gathered trichomes of the female plant. ...


John Ashcroft is in the case's name because he was Attorney General when the case was filed. The case was renamed when Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General. John David Ashcroft (born May 9, 1942) was the 79th Attorney General of the United States. ... Alberto Gonzales, current Attorney General of the United States The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... Alberto R. Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) is the 80th and current Attorney General of the United States, becoming the first Hispanic to serve in the position. ...

Contents

The case

The case dealt with the Controlled Substances Act and medical marijuana. The question presented to the Court was: Is the Controlled Substances Act a constitutional use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution? The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 801 et sequitur). ... Cannabis sativa extract. ... The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ...


Factual Background

California voters passed Proposition 215 of 1996, legalizing the medical use of marijuana. The United States Federal Government has limited the use of marijuana since the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act came into effect. The marijuana Angel Raich used was homegrown and legal under California law, but illicit under federal law. Diane Monson grew marijuana in her garden. On August 15, 2002, county deputy sheriffs and agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) destroyed all six of California resident Diane Monson's marijuana plants. The marijuana plants were illegal section one drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). CSA is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Monson and Angel Raich sued, claiming that enforcing the CSA against them would violate the Commerce Clause, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution, and the doctrine of medical necessity. It has been suggested that Califas be merged into this article or section. ... Proposition 215 was a proposition in the state of California on the November 5, 1996 ballot. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... The U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789 by a constitutional convention, sets down the basic framework of American government in its seven articles. ... In the United States, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act (strictly the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act) was one of the cornerstone bills that led to the criminalization of Cannabis. ... August 15 is the 227th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (228th in leap years), with 138 days remaining. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Since 1973, the DEA has enforced the drug laws in the United States. ...


California was one of nBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE JAAAAAAAAAAAAAY =)ine states that allowed medicinal use of marijuana. California's Compassionate Use Act allows limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Angel Raich's physician said that without marijuana, Raich would be in excruciating pain and could die.


Legal Background

The United States has a federal structure, with power divided between the states and the federal government. Many expansions of federal power enacted during the first phase of the New Deal in the 1930s were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States, until President Franklin Delano Roosevelt unsuccessfully tried to increase the number of judges on the Court to fifteen (the court packing scheme), and fill it with sympathetic judges. However, in what was called "the switch in time that saved nine," the Court reversed course and found reasons to uphold new expansions of federal power. A map displaying todays federations. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: New Deal For other uses of New Deal and The New Deal, see New Deal (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States, the longest-serving holder of the office and the only man to be elected President more than twice, was one of the central figures of 20th century history. ... Court packing is the name given to President Franklin Delano Roosevelts plan to create a judiciary more favorable to his New Deal policies. ... The switch in time that saved nine was the name given by the press to the apparent sudden shift by Justice Owen J. Roberts from the conservative wing of the Supreme Court (represented by the Four Horsemen) to the liberal wing (represented by Three Musketeers) in the case West Coast...


The Commerce Clause, along with the Fourteenth Amendment and spending power, allow Congress to do things that affect states. For more information, see States' rights and the Rehnquist Court. States rights refers to the idea that U.S. states possess certain rights and political powers in the politics of the United States and constitutional law. ...


The case of Raich and Monson against the government

Angel Raich of Oakland, California, Diane Monson of Oroville, California, and two anonymous caregivers sued the government for injunctive and declaratory relief on October 9, 2002 to stop the government from interfering with their right to produce and use medical marijuana claiming that the Controlled Substances Act was not constitutional as applied to their conduct. Oakland, founded in 1852, is the eighth-largest city in California and the county seat of Alameda County. ... Oroville is the county seat of Butte County, California. ... An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that either prohibits or compels (restrains or enjoins) a party from continuing a particular activity. ... Declaratory relief is a judges determination (called a declaratory judgment) of the parties rights under a contract or a statute, often requested (and highly desired) in a lawsuit over a contract. ... October 9 is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ...


They claimed the seizure was a violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which grants the federal government the power to regulate "commerce," but only commerce that occurs "among the several States," with foreign countries, and "with the Indian tribes." Raich argued that her possession and consumption of medical marijuana was not commerce. Neither she nor Monson paid for their marijuana, and neither obtained it from another state. The soil, seeds, nutrients, and lumber used to grow the marijuana were obtained within California. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ...


Angel Raich claimed she used marijuana to keep herself alive. She and her doctor claimed to have tried dozens of prescription medicines for her numerous medical conditions, and that she was allergic to most of them. Her doctor declared under oath that Raich's life was at stake if she could not continue to use marijuana. Diane Monson suffered from chronic pain due to a car accident a decade before the case. She used marijuana to relieve the pain and muscle spasms around her spine.


The government's case

The United States Federal law, via the Controlled Substances Act, does not recognize and opposes medical marijuana. Agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were assigned to break up California's medical marijuana co-ops and seize their assets. This activity was the result of the belief that federal law preempted that of California. The government also argued that if a single exception was made to the Controlled Substances Act, it would become unenforceable in practice. The government also contended that consuming one's locally grown marijuana for medical purposes affects the interstate market of marijuana, and hence that the federal government may regulate—and prohibit—such consumption. Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a nation. ... The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 801 et sequitur). ... Since 1973, the DEA has enforced the drug laws in the United States. ... Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause: The Supremacy Clause establishes the Constitution, Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as the supreme law of the land. ...


Litigation

On December 16, 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the federal government from interfering with Raich and Monson. In their ruling, they declared: "We find that the appellants have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on their claim that, as applied to them, the Controlled Substances Act is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause authority." December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: District of Alaska District of Arizona Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California District of Guam District of Hawaii District of Idaho District of Montana... An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that either prohibits or compels (restrains or enjoins) a party from continuing a particular activity. ... The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 USC 801 et sequitur). ...


Result

Legal briefs were filed and oral argument occurred on November 29, 2004 (transcript). The 6-3 decision, written by Justice Stevens, was issued on June 6, 2005. It upheld the validity of Controlled Substances Act as an exercise of federal power because Congress "could have rationally concluded that the aggregate impact on the national market of all the transactions exempted from federal supervision is unquestionably substantial." The majority did not address the substantive due process claims raised by the respondents. November 29 is the 333rd (in leap years the 334th) day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Rational basis rest, in U.S. constitutional law, is the lowest level of scrutiny applied by courts deciding constitutional issues through judicial review. ...


The Commerce Clause was the main issue. Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce includes power to regulate: Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ...

  • channels of interstate commerce.
  • instrumentalities of interstate commerce.
  • activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.

The last of the three was relevant to the issue at hand. The relevant precedents for it are Wickard v. Filburn (1942), United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000). Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Wickard v. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... Holding Possession of a gun near a school is not an economic activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Holding The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981, is unconstitutional as exceeding congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. ... This article is about the year 2000. ...


Stevens' opinion for the Court for the Raich decision said that Lopez and Morrison don't apply, since marijuana is a popular part of commerce, and that the Commerce Clause applies whether the commerce is legal or not. According to Stevens, Wickard was the correct precedent to go by. During the American Great Depression, the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 imposed quotas on crops including wheat. The farmer Roscoe Filburn produced wheat in excess of the quota, but said the excess wheat was for his own personal consumption and therefore had no effect on interstate commerce. The Court ruled that a farmer's growing "his own wheat" is "commerce" because if he had not grown and consumed it, he would have had to buy it from someone. Hence, in the aggregate, if farmers were allowed to consume their own wheat it would affect the interstate market in wheat. This case marked what may be the high water mark of the commerce power. For sixty years—until the Lopez decision—the Supreme Court struck down no law as exceeding the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause. Like Filburn, Raich and Monson said that their marijuana was only for personal use, and therefore not part of commerce. Stevens said that since the Wickard aggregation principle was valid, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution allowed federal law to override state law. Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn which started in 1929 (although its effects were not fully felt until late in 1930) and lasted through most of the 1930s. ... The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 was the result of the unconstitutionality of previous New Deal farm legislation and the success of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act passed in 1936. ...


Although the Court decision for Raich imposed a severe hardship on people in Raich's position, there was a larger issue involved. Congress' power under the Commerce Clause was used for many important pieces of legislation, with the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 as one example out of many. The Court had already reaffirmed some precedents and created others that limit the power of Congress over the states, and increased the power of the Court over Congress. With Raich, the Court declined to go further in that direction. President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ...


Justice Scalia wrote a separate concurrence that aimed to differentiate the decision from the controversial results of United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison. Although Scalia voted in favor of limits on the Commerce Clause in the Lopez and Morrison decisions, he said that his understanding of the Necessary and Proper Clause caused him to vote for the Commerce Clause with Raich for the following reason: Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Holding Possession of a gun near a school is not an economic activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. ... Holding The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981, is unconstitutional as exceeding congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. ...

   
Gonzales v. Raich
Unlike the power to regulate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, the power to enact laws enabling effective regulation of interstate commerce can only be exercised in conjunction with congressional regulation of an interstate market, and it extends only to those measures necessary to make the interstate regulation effective. As Lopez itself states, and the Court affirms today, Congress may regulate noneconomic intrastate activities only where the failure to do so “could … undercut” its regulation of interstate commerce. ... This is not a power that threatens to obliterate the line between “what is truly national and what is truly local.” Lopez
   
Gonzales v. Raich

Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ...

Dissent

Justice O'Connor, dissenting (transcript), began her opinion by citing United States v. Lopez, which she followed with a reference to Justice Louis Brandeis's dissenting opinion in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann: Justice Sandra Day OConnor Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1981. ... Louis D. Brandeis Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 3, 1941) was an important American litigator, Supreme Court Justice, advocate of privacy, and developer of the Brandeis Brief. ...

Federalism promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

O'Connor concluded: Federalism is a political philosophy in which a group or body of members are bound together (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. ...

Relying on Congress’ abstract assertions, the Court has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use. This overreaching stifles an express choice by some States, concerned for the lives and liberties of their people, to regulate medical marijuana differently. If I were a California citizen, I would not have voted for the medical marijuana ballot initiative; if I were a California legislator I would not have supported the Compassionate Use Act. But whatever the wisdom of California’s experiment with medical marijuana, the federalism principles that have driven our Commerce Clause cases require that room for experiment be protected in this case.

Justice Thomas also wrote a separate dissent (transcript), stating in part: Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ...

In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.

Aftermath

Both Raich and Monson have indicated their intention to continue using medical marijuana in spite of the ruling. Some activists have compared this decision to the Dred Scott case, with the implication that the ruling may have only a temporary impact leading to political reversal. Holding Blacks, whether slaves or free, could not become United States citizens and the plaintiff therefore lacked the capacity to file a lawsuit. ...


Two days after the ruling, the International Narcotics Control Board issued a statement indicating that the Board "welcomes the decision of the United States Supreme Court, made on 6 June, reaffirming that the cultivation and use of cannabis, even if it is for 'medical' use, should be prohibited." INCB President Hamid Ghodse noted, "Cannabis is classified under international conventions as a drug with a number of personal and public health problems," referring to the drug's Schedule IV status under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs[1]. Mr. ... Hamid Ghodse has been President of the International Narcotics Control Board since 2004. ... Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs Opened for signature March 30, 1961 at New York Entered into force December 13, 1964[1] Conditions for entry into force 40 ratifications Parties 180[2] The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the international treaty against illicit drug manufacture and trafficking that forms the...


Not long after the decision in Raich, the Court vacated a lower court decision in United States v. Stewart and remanded it to the court of appeals for reconsideration in light of Raich. In Stewart, the Ninth Circuit had held that Congress lacked the Commerce Clause power to criminalize the possession of homemade machine guns. United States v. ...


See also

Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Wickard v. ...

External links and references


 
 

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