Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Is It About?

So John Roberts gets a real test of his stated convictions about being a Constitutional minimalist in one of the very first cases he hears as Chief Justice.

Gonzales v Oregon is being represented as a ‘right-to-die’ or assisted suicide case.  While that is the type of law that is being challenged, that is not what this case is about.  This case is about whether the Federal Government can over ride a state’s right to pass a law that does not intrude on the Federal Government’s constitutionally mandated authority.  

The question that should be the deciding factor is whether the Constitution gives the Federal Government the right to declare this law un-constitutional.  The Constitution is generally pretty clear in these types of cases.  The answer is no, the Federal Government does not have that authority.  Unfortunately, based on the questions of several of the members of the court, it seems to me that this decision is going to be based on the personal feelings of the court members of the concept of assisted suicide.   The reason I feel that way is that the media has been framing this as a ‘right-to-die’ issue, and generally the way an issue is framed will show the way that the public is approaching the issue.

I am tired of hearing the Right in this country talk about moral issues and the constitutionality of a given issue, but not seeming to understanding the issue in general.  This country was not intended to have an overbearing central government, in fact the central government was designed to be weak with much of the power reserved to the states because the founders felt that a strong central government was dangerous.  The Right talks about states rights and ‘originalism’ and limited government, but when it comes down to it they aren’t opposed to a strong central government as long as it supports their view of the world.  

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