Today, in Gonzales v. Raich, No. 03-1454,
the Supreme Court held that Congress can constitutionally
regulate the intrastate cultivation, distribution, and possession
of marijuana for personal medicinal use because Congress could
reasonably conclude that this activity substantially affects
interstate drug markets. The case upholds a broad reading
of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause.
The ruling has important implications for challenges to federal
environmental protections. For example, in GDF Realty Investments,
Ltd. v. Norton, No. 03-1619, a developer is seeking Supreme
Court review of a lower court ruling holding that the Commerce
Clause gives Congress the power to protect endangered species
found only within the borders of a single state.
Timothy J. Dowling, Chief Counsel of Community Rights Counsel,
responded favorably to the Raich ruling:
"We sympathize with those who turn to marijuana for
relief from serious illness, but we are pleased the court
reaffirmed Congress's broad constitutional authority to
protect human health, public safety, and community welfare.
Today's ruling is a victory for environmental safeguards
and other community protections being challenged under the
same theory advanced by Mrs. Raich's attorneys."
Community Rights Counsel filed an amicus brief in the case
supporting the Attorney General due to the threat an adverse
ruling could have posed to federal laws protecting the environment
and other vital public concerns.