Sunday, 28 November 2004

Good Luck, Randy Barnett

I’m no big fan of Randy “Buy My Book” Barnett qua blogger, but after Lawrence Lessig, he’s my second favorite lawyer. I join Jim Lingren in wishing Mr. Barnett the best of luck Monday in oral argument before the Supreme Court in the case of Raich v. Ashcroft.

I’d love to see Raich win the case, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Monday, 29 November 2004

Raich pessimism

Will Baude notes a lot of pessimism around the court-watching sphere regarding Ashcroft v. Raich—mind you, much of it seems to be coming from quarters that are skeptical of the whole Lopez line of jurisprudence, without which I suspect this case would have simply received the standard 9–0 Ninth Circuit Smackdown (for some of this, er, conflicted viewpoint, see today's NYT editorial). He does make a semi-interesting statement worth exploring further:

[T]he somewhat confused coverage of the case does not look good for any hope of establishing a political vindication instead of a judicial one.

It seems to me that relatively few people in the public—or, for that matter, within political elites—actually conceive of Congress as lacking the plenary power to legislate as it sees fit in any sphere of activity (economic or otherwise), subject only to the limitations of the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments. The Lopez line is such a dramatic break from over fifty years of federal jurisprudence that I doubt many people can imagine that America got along, more-or-less fine (at least in the economic/police powers realm; I can’t say the same for the lack of enforcement of the 14th Amendment in terms of political rights), for 150 years without such a plenary congressional power, under the understanding that primary authority for such regulation rested in the states.

There are more thoughts on this topic from Brock, below, and James Joyner.