It seems too good to be true, this new quote from the White House. Unless President Barack Obama denounces it, and humiliates White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro, he must back off his support of the radical pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act. He must oppose any federal gun ban that might counter a state law. If the statement is true, Obama supports states rights more than federal control.
"The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws," Shapiro said this month. "And as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind."
Glory be and hallelujah. Everyone repeat it in unison: "The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws."
It's a quote Americans should cherish and never forget. It's a statement of sweeping policy direction, and we should all use it to help define Obama's new federalism.
The quote appeared in an Associated Press story about recent DEA pot raids, and clearly the White House didn't wish to address the issue of marijuana directly. That's why it issued a broad policy statement instead. It's a statement that says we can expect the president to respect state law, so if the topic is pot you do the math.
The AP story told of a new federal tolerance for laws in Colorado and California and 11 other states which allow the medical use of marijuana. The laws have been in conflict with federal laws, and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency has boldly disrespected states by arresting users and dealers of medical marijuana without regard for state laws.
The story said it's unofficial, but there's "a whiff in the air that U.S. policy is about to change when it comes to medical marijuana." "It is no longer federal policy to beat up on hippies," said UCLA professor and former Justice Department official Mark Kleiman. After all, the DEA can't very well beat on druggies in legalization states if the chief executive says federal resources should not circumvent state laws. This has nothing to do with the president's views on drugs. No, no, no... It has to do with states rights, which are so important we needn't even discuss the merits of medicinal pot. We must default to respecting each state.
It's great news. It means we'll waste less time, money, and prison space on people who toke on a common weed that anyone can grow, or pluck from a ditch. It means we won't continue disrespecting state laws to impose a big government agenda from the right.
But this new federalism is far more wonderful than it appears on the surface. If our president defends state laws, he can't deliver on his promise to support the Freedom of Choice Act - a proposal for disrespecting state laws to impose a big government agenda from the left. For that matter, a president who believes "federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws" can't possibly support Roe v. Wade.
Regardless of how one feels about abortion, Roe v. Wade may represent the worst abuse of states rights our federal court has committed. It's a ruling that did nothing other than grant federal authority to circumvent state laws. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama supported during his campaign, is a radical pro-abortion proposal designed to circumvent state laws. Under Roe v. Wade, states retain some rights to regulate abortion. A state's electorate can choose to require parental notification when a minor child seeks an abortion. A state can require informed consent, in which abortion businesses must give specific information to patients. A state may prohibit some forms of government funding of abortion, and states may outlaw barbaric procedures involving partially delivered, fully-developed babies in the third trimester of a pregnancy.
The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has supported, would use federal resources to circumvent all of those state abortion laws. Since Obama respects pot laws, for no reason other than his support for state laws, he can't very well continue his support for the Freedom of Choice Act - a blatant affront to state laws. Furthermore, Obama must resist federal attempts to regulate guns in ways that circumvent state laws. He must resist an array of federal regulations that would circumvent state laws. If Shapiro's statement was true, Obama's a limited government advocate and defender of states rights. Let's hold him to it.