Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lopez v. Gonzales: Trafficking does not mean help to possess

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case of Lopez v. Gonzales. IMHO
a Common Sense Definition (of "trafficking" in the INA) prevailed over a very Legalistic argument. Even if the State makes a crime a felony the INA's language is controlling. The conclusion is worth quoting:

In sum, we hold that a state offense constitutes a “felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act” only if it proscribes conduct punishable as a felony under that federal law. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Surprising, or not surprising, that what appears to be a VERY simple and straight-forward, as in fastball down the middle, question went all the way to the Supreme Court? But let it be noted that there was a lone dissent, by Justice Thomas.

IMHO he continues fighting the bad war on drugs with the get-tough approach; but let's do that someplace else, and not make bad law over it. Is he just making a political statement?

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