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Gingrich: Abolish 9th Circuit

Newt Gingrich last night declared that he would abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Raw Story (“Gingrich: Abolish ‘anti-American’ Ninth Circuit judges“):

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich declared Thursday that he would work to abolish federal judges if he didn’t agree with their “anti-American” or “dictatorial” rulings.

At a GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly noted that at least two conservative former attorneys general had blasted Gingrich’s “dangerous” and “totally irresponsible” plan because it would alter the balance of powers.

“It alters the balance because the courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful,” Gingrich admitted. “I’ve been working on this project since 2002 when the Ninth Circuit court said that ‘one nation under God’ is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance. And I decided that if you had judges that were so radically anti-American that they thought ‘one nation under God’ was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court.”

“Like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, I would be prepared to take on the judiciary if, in fact, it did not restrict what it was doing,” he added.

As for those conservative former attorneys general, Gingrich wanted to know if they had studied “Jefferson, who in 1802 abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges?”

“I would suggest to you, actually as a historian, I may understand this better than lawyers, and as lawyers, those two attorneys general are behaving exactly like law schools which have overly empowered lawyers that they can dictate to the rest of us,” he insisted.

I would suggest to you, actually as a political scientist, I may understand this better than a historian. Especially one who did his dissertation on the Belgian Congo. And this is a classic example of Gingrich coming up with wild, absurd ideas and convincing himself that they’re good public policy.

Yes, it would be technically possible to abolish the 9th Circuit. All the lower courts are a creature of Congress, which has the absolute power under Articles I and III of the Constitution to  establish, dis-establish, and otherwise rein in the powers of all courts except the Supreme Court. But recall that Jefferson was president when the judiciary was still finding its way. Marbury vs. Madison, the 1803 case that staked out the power of judicial review, happened in response to an early controversy in his administration. And observe that the filibuster did not come into being until 1837, well after Jefferson’s death. There’s simply no way that there would be 60 votes for abolishing the 9th Circuit.

Additionally, the practicalities of the matter are that we need the 9th Circuit or something like it. That is, we need an intermediate court of appeal that handles the enormous caseload coming out of California, not to mention the other states and territories under the 9th’s jurisdiction (Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and the Mariana Islands). And, given the nature of the judicial confirmation process, the judges will essentially be picked by Senators from those states, which tend to be liberal Democrats.

Actually, a far more useful proposal for dealing with a Circuit whose opinions are so far outside the judicial mainstream that they’re constantly being reversed by the Supreme Court would be to reorganize the circuits. The 9th, in particular, is clearly too big given the population of California.

Thirty years ago, the 5th Circuit was split into two with the creation of the 11th Circuit. It would be pretty easy to create a new 12th Circuit and realign the existing 9th and 10th Circuits to create a more moderate balance. Off the top of my head, the 9th could cover Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; the 10th could cover Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Kansas; and the 12th could cover Southern California, Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the territories. Given that this would give Senators more power, it would be unlikely to be filibustered.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. “I would suggest to you, actually as a political scientist, I may understand this better than a historian.”

    Funny–I had the same reaction as soon as I read that sentence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. (Especially one whose academic specialty, as you note, has nothing to do with the US, let alone the courts).

    Like with his Not Lobbying, he has a rather flexible idea of what “historian” means.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. “It alters the balance because the courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful,” Gingrich admitted. “I’ve been working on this project since 2002 when the Ninth Circuit court said that ‘one nation under God’ is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Except the court said no such thing. What they said was unconstitutional is forcing someone to say the pledge.

    And I decided that if you had judges that were so radically anti-American that they thought ‘one nation under God’ was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court.”

    You’d think that Newt announcing he plans to defy Article VI, clause 3 of the constitution would be a bigger story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. As with many of his ideas, this is one where Newt does not think before speaking

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. donald says:

    You couldn’t very well split a state (here, CA) between two federal circuits. notice that the current circuit lines respect state boundaries. They do so for probably quite a few reasons, but one that strikes me is the inevitable interplay of federal and state law. The substance of federal law is often determined by rulings in the circuit courts. It would not be fair or efficient to have the law change within California when you cross some arbitary latitude line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  6. legion says:

    All the lower courts are a creature of Congress, which has the absolute power under Articles I and III of the Constitution to establish, dis-establish, and otherwise rein in the powers of all courts except the Supreme Court.

    So, given that, how would Newt, as President, have anything to say about it? Perhaps he’ll put the Congress under Presidential jurisdiction somehow…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Moosebreath says:

    I suspect that even “abolishing” the 9th Circuit would not accomplish what Newt wants. He wants a way to force these judges off the bench. However, since Article 3, Section 1 provides that the judges have lifetime appointment, except for reason to impeach, re-arranging the number or names of courts does not get him any closer to this.

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  8. anjin-san says:

    Ol’ Newt is already starting to sound a bit desperate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  9. Hey Norm says:

    At the end of the day “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals” is just another one of those dog whistle words designed to make Eric F., and Jan, and Drew, and G.A., and Bandit sit up and bark. They aren’t sure why they are barking. They just know they are supposed to bark.
    In ’01 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower courts in 75 percent of the cases it decided. The Ninth Circuit’s reversal percentage – 76 percent — was virtually identical to the national average. What it is since then, with the appointment of hyper-partisans like Roberts and Alito, I don’t know.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  10. MBunge says:

    So, are we criticizing the idea or simply that Newt is willing to openly advocate it? ‘Cause this is not actually a case of Newt just throwing out some wild proposal. The Ninth Circuit and “activist” judges in general have been a whipping boy of conservatives for years. It is also true that our system of checks and balances is supposed to apply to all branches of government, including the Judicial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  11. anjin-san says:

    “Like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, I would be prepared to take on the judiciary

    You would think a historian would know that FDR’s “taking on the judiciary” is pretty much universally regarded as one of the great mistakes of his Presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. Moosebreath says:

    anjin-san,

    Jefferson’s impeachment of Justice Chase is considered a blunder, as well, and very similar to what Newt is proposing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. PD Shaw says:

    While I think the courts have become too powerful, abolishing courts is not the answer. And picking the Pledge as your galvanizing complaint is pretty banal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. PD Shaw says:

    Lincoln’s ignoring of Justice Taney was masterful, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. @anjin-san:

    You would think a historian would know that FDR’s “taking on the judiciary” is pretty much universally regarded as one of the great mistakes of his Presidency.

    Not to mention FDR’s court packing scheme was to help further policies that Newt allegedly hate.

    He does make some weird claims for a “historian.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Lincoln ignoring Justice Taney in Ex Parte Merryman was an impeachable offense, IMO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Andre Kenji says:

    The most interesting thing is that any division of the 9 Circuit would create one or two MORE LIBERAL districts from the division.

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  18. PD Shaw says:

    @Doug Mataconis: A majority of Congress agreed with Lincoln or at least refused to pass a bill of censure.

    Lincoln had good arguments on his side, including IIRC the history of why the writ clause was moved from Article II to Article I. In any event, Lincoln’s views were vindicated and remain today. The President is not going to be barred under the Constitution to protect the Republic with the use of military powers in waiting for Congress to convene, but he/she will be expected to seek the support of Congress eventually.

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  19. James Joyner says:

    @donald: It’s true that no state is currently split and you’re likely right that splitting California would create some issues. This isn’t a full-fledged policy proposal, obviously, just an off-the-cuff attempt to achieve what Gingrich is trying to in a more politically plausible manner.

    My thinking on splitting California is that it’s half again as populous as the #2 state and twice as populous as the #4 state, so it’s a special case. Additionally, it’s enormous geographically. And keeping it intact would make achieving the stated goal much more difficult; my plan dilutes California by splitting it.

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  20. WR says:

    One wonders why none of the rocket scientists at this great debate thought to ask Gingrich if there was a way that he could protect his presidential right to abolish any court he didn’t like while denying that same right to a Democratic president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. PD Shaw says:

    @WR: Because Obama’s Presidency is so bad, that the country is not only prepared to elect Gingrich to replace him, there will never be another Democrat elected POTUS in our life-time.

    Good point though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    And, given the nature of the judicial confirmation process, the judges will essentially be picked by Senators from those states, which tend to be liberal Democrats.

    The thing about splitting CA is that is gives the 2 senators from that 1 state a say in 2 different circuits while all other senators are limited to one circuit. Some in the GOP might see that as a problem.

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  23. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: True enough. I’m not sure how you solve the 9th Circuit problem without splitting California, though.

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  24. @James Joyner:

    It’s even worse than that: Los Angeles County (population 9,818,605) all by itself has more population than 42 of the states in this country. How do you split up CA reasonably without splitting LA county, creating a ridiculous situation where you could have different federal laws in effect depending on which part of the city you’re in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. Hey Norm says:

    “…Because Obama’s Presidency is so bad…”

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion…

    “…that the country is not only prepared to elect Gingrich to replace him…”

    This is completely counterfactual…Gingrich loses to Obama in every single poll.

    “…there will never be another Democrat elected POTUS in our life-time…”

    Delusional…I mean lifetimes differ…but the concept of single-party rule was a Rovian wet-dream that no sane person considers realistic.
    So we have an opinion backed up by factual error and delusion. Probably not much of an opinion given that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. mannning says:

    Somehow, I think the idea of splitting California into two parts is just as radical as trying to abolish the 9th Circuit Court. We end up with a 51st state, perhaps North California, leaving South California as the surviving remnant (or vice versa), and that would add two senators to the pot from a still radical but new state, and it would still be the Left Coast we would have to contend with. The idea of total abolishment of the court is specious, too, since the areas currently covered must be covered by a court system still. No matter how you rearrange the deck chairs, it seems that we’d end up with two radical states and with two radical court systems, even with some really imaginative gerrymandering.

    The fundamental problem is radical leftwing groups and individuals that have managed to capture the controls of the CA state government, allowing them to sort things out more or less their way. More leftwing senatorial power would not be in the best interests of the nation.

    This is a present-day object lesson on how a state government can be subverted away from the original Constitution. Cannabis anyone? Want to marry your boyfriend, guy? Want to give sanctuary to illegals? Want Nancy to be Speaker again and legislate in the blind? PCMD all? Tax increases for all? Top bureaucratic educators in limos? Mexifornia anyone? Spendthrift haven? Etc. Etc. Etc. ad nauseam! I see no practical solution.

    It is such a beautiful state…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  27. @Hey Norm: I think he was joking about how Gingrich could respond to WR’s question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. PD Shaw says:

    @Hey Norm: Sorry, I was joking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. mattb says:

    @mannning:

    The fundamental problem is radical leftwing groups and individuals that have managed to capture the controls of the CA state government, allowing them to sort things out more or less their way. More leftwing senatorial power would not be in the best interests of the nation.

    In other words, the fundamental problem is that the democratic process worked and you don’t like the outcome. Note that liberals tend to have the same problem in Wisconsin.

    Not surprisingly, this is the sort of “fundamental problem” most folks have with so called “judicial activism.” In the vast majority of cases activism is mostly claimed by the people who lost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. mantis says:

    More leftwing senatorial power would not be in the best interests of the nation.

    Translation: The power of members of Congress should be determined by ideology. Those who agree with me should have more power. Those who don’t, less.

    You know, there’s already a country like that. In China, the Communist Party allows a few minor parties participate in local elections, and even some independent candidates have been allowed to hold local offices. But all the real power rests in the CPC, as dictated by their constitution which grants the party absolute leadership in the country.

    Perhaps Manning would be more comfortable in a place like China, where they pretend to have a representative government, but all the representatives allowed any power are in the same party. Obviously this whole democratic representation thing is not to his liking.

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  31. mannning says:

    Well, I look at it another way. When the balance in a state the size of CA is so one-sided and fixed, you do not have sufficient freedom and livability for the minority, just as in China. Thus, full democracy tends to become strangled by such one-sided ideological power, just not as completely as in China, and, then too, one sees all sorts of weird and objectionable decisions taking place. Of course, those who want the same weird things for the entire nation would not see it that way and they object to my position as seen above. Just don’t bring that weirdness to Virginia!

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  32. mannning says:

    Come to think of it, I needn’t “like” that outcome at all! That is why my vote goes to the conservative side of the ledger, to help keep the city, county, state and nation I live in on a Constitutionally even keel, a morally acceptable path, and to hold the radicals at bay where possible. Philosophically, however, you can’t win them all, but there is a huge obligation to try very hard indeed! That is also democracy in action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  33. anjin-san says:

    When the balance in a state the size of CA is so one-sided and fixed,

    Idiot.

    I have lived in CA for 52 years. Outside of urban costal areas, much of CA is actually pretty conservative. Go visit Lodi sometime. And let’s not forget about John Birch country. Also look at two term GOP Governors in CA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. mattb says:

    @mannning:

    When the balance in a state the size of CA is so one-sided and fixed, you do not have sufficient freedom and livability for the minority, just as in China.

    Really… Being in a minority party in California = being a minority in China

    Hyperbole much?

    God, people like you and Newt are truly a match in heaven. Frankly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. Moosebreath says:

    “When the balance in a state the size of CA is so one-sided and fixed, you do not have sufficient freedom and livability for the minority, just as in China.”

    So would you say Texas is a state without sufficient freedom and livability for the minority? California has elected Republicans to both Governor and Senator more recently than Texas has Democrats. Or is it only when the Republicans are the minority that it’s a problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. mannning says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Short answer is yes. It is a matter of results, morality and trust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  37. mannning says:

    Interesting that the phrase “just not as completely as in China” was carefully excised in comments, which is to say that there is a large degree-to-which question in the comparison.
    But, it seems to me that progressive governments actually do progress into deeper and wider control of everyday life. Here, it is in a hundred small and large matters, such as MacDonald hamburgers fat content, the preservation of land for bugs, the excessive reaction to natural warming, inability to exploit our resources adequately, and so on, so far, that are tending to constrain our freedoms of choice through the government’s actions. just a tad more each year, all in the name of a creeping beneficial change mantra. We have created and continue to feed and guide a dependent class as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  38. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    Where are the majority of citizens? Urban and suburban areas or rural areas? Which counties have overwhelming majority democratic voters for the legislature? How is it that the Republican governors could not make much headway with their plans and directions? Why is the state debt now right at $50 billion? Why are businesses moving out? What has CA done to constrain the illegals? There seems to be a fundamental problem in the state. Lack of control of spending. Just as our nation seems to have been in an orgy of spending for years and years.Why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  39. anjin-san says:

    How is it that the Republican governors could not make much headway with their plans and directions?

    Probably because their plans & directions sucked…

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  40. anjin-san says:

    that are tending to constrain our freedoms of choice

    Funny, you have no problem constraining the freedom of gays to get married to whom they choose or for people to smoke pot, which is less destructive than alcohol & tobacco by orders of magnitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @anjin-san: Manny has a rather simple model in his head of how the world works: whatever he wants is “freedom”, whatever he doesn’t like is “tyranny”. He does not (and I suspect never will) understand or accept that liberty includes people living in ways he doesn’t necessarily agree with. The fundamentalist mind works like a giant mutated antibody, rejecting and attacking anything that doesn’t resemble it due to the most central characteristic of the hard right: their deep and overpowering insecurities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    Did I hit an unspoken truth? By far the majority believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

    After seeing a number of guy embark on a cannibis trip and then become enamored of going on to harder stuff and really fry their brains, prudence seems to me to stay off such stuff. We do not need dopeheads driving around looking for a place to crash. Nor do we need to pay for their trips and crashes via medicare, either.

    @Ben Wolf:

    What a pleasant fellow you are! High School grad? Pseudo-psychologist?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  43. B-Rob says:

    It does not make any sense to split California when no other state in the union is split, i.e., two separate circuits continuously applying California state law. Likewise, the proposed new 9th has an incredibly small population; this appears to be for political reasons, not case load reasons. If anything, the new 9th should at least include Alaska and Nevada. The 12th circuit can consist of Arizona, California and Hawaii. Culturally speaking, Cali and Hawaii are similar, while Cali and Arizona share a border with each other and a border with Mexico.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. B-Rob says:

    @Hey Norm: I think he was being sarcastic . . . .

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  45. B-Rob says:

    @mannning:

    By far the majority believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

    Now you are becoming positively incoherent! Didn’t you just deride the concept of majority rule, when you said “full democracy tends to become strangled by such one-sided ideological power”? How is the “majority” position against gay marriage any less tyrannical than the California position on, oh, environmental protection? There is as least as much support in that state for strict regulation of pollutants as there is in other states for strict regulation of who gets married to whom.

    Seems to me that you are all in favor of a majority rules regime as long as it suits your personal foibles, but “tyranny ensues” if majority rule is against your cramped little agenda. That is not dissent . . . that is being a sore loser.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. sam says:

    @mannning:

    This is a present-day object lesson on how a state government can be subverted away from the original Constitution

    What the hell does that even mean?

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  47. sam says:

    @mannning:

    But, it seems to me that progressive governments actually do progress into deeper and wider control of everyday life.

    This from a guy who’s all for deploying the power of the state to make sure we all stay on a “morally acceptable path”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. anjin-san says:

    By far the majority believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

    And of course a majority should always have the right to oppress the minority. Step to the back of the bus, boy.

    After seeing a number of guy embark on a cannibis trip and then become enamored of going on to harder stuff and really fry their brains

    8-10% of the population will always have substance abuse issues. No law will change that. If pot did not even exist, those people would end up abusing something else. Pot is bad for you, but it is almost certainly the least destructive popular psychoactive drug. If we accept your reasoning, such as it it, we need to reinstate the Volstead Act and make tobacco illegal. How come you are not out lobbying for this?

    As I said, alcohol and tobacco do more damage than pot by orders of magnitude. Always have, always will. For that matter, the war on drugs does more damage to society than the drugs do. It exists to expand government power and keep civil servants employed. I am surprised you don’t have a problem with that.

    You nonsense about people “tripping” on pot would be lame in the 70s. Today, it is simply pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Moosebreath says:

    mannning,

    So by your own admission, you are a reflexive partisan who has no problem imposing your will on anyone else, but cannot tolerate someone doing that to you. In other words, someone who is a waste of time trying to reason with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. mannning says:

    @sam:

    Yet another false assumption from you. Who ever said I wanted to deploy the power of government for that purpose. Ethics and morality begin and end with the individual, and if they do not have such, what happens next is up to the laws of the nation and locale. If your locale is fine with pot, there is not much one can do about it except lobby for change. We do live in a majority rule nation and within the limits defined by the Constitution and local laws.
    Fortunately, most sane locales have laws that restrict pot and other forms of dope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  51. mannning says:

    >@anjin-san:

    8-10% of the population will always have substance abuse issues. No law will change that. If pot did not even exist, those people would end up abusing something else. Pot is bad for you, but it is almost certainly the least destructive popular psychoactive drug. </blockquote

    Quite so, but it has been proven to be a "psychological gateway drug" to the rest of the drugs and alcohol available. The progression from soft to hard drugs and excessive alcohol is well documented, so for rational people the best way to stop the progression is to stop the pot in the first instance. Certainly, an exception for true, proven medical purposes should be made.

    As I said, alcohol and tobacco do more damage than pot by orders of magnitude. Always have, always will.

    Which is a rather poor excuse for allowing gateway pot to be used freely.

    For that matter, the war on drugs does more damage to society than the drugs do. It exists to expand government power and keep civil servants employed. I am surprised you don’t have a problem with that.

    Here is the true radical’s mantra. I take it you want to end the war on drugs! At least you are consistent with your pot position…suck up all you can! Legalize all drug use and the problem will go away! Funny that few legislators will back such a proposal, simply because the overshoot in addiction, burnout and death after such a law is passed would be horrendus, and would immediately be racked up to the legislators, never mind that it might be the case that the carnage would tend to decrease to some lower limit over some number of years. I am surprised that your leftist administration has not acted strongly in this direction, but they just might have some sense after all, despite the urgings of the likes of you. No one wants to pay the first bill of ruination for this approach!

    @Moosebreath:

    You can’t get around the fact that we do live in a society where the majority tends to rule, laws get passed that are approved by the majority through their representatives, and the collective opinion on issues drives the show for the most part. If your views are in the minority, you will have to either suck it up and live with it until the majority view and law changes or is changed somehow, or else head out over the Pacific or Atlantic.

    I do suck it up on quite a number of issues and actions of the current administration, and of some right here at home, but I sure as hell work to change what I do not like ( or to add what I do like) through all of the legal processes available, which is my right, and yours. If you have a problem with this, you need to find another nation.

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  52. anjin-san says:

    Which is a rather poor excuse for allowing gateway pot to be used freely

    Alcohol is far more dangerous and costly to society than pot (orders of magnitude!) I am 23 years into recovery and am a trained substance abuse counselor. I have some expertise in this area. Are you advocating the return of prohibition? If not, you position makes no sense. You are not interested in keeping people from harm, you simply want to maintain a status quo that you are comfortable with.

    Legalize all drug use and the problem will go away

    I did not say that. You are simply ranting at this point.

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  53. anjin-san says:

    “psychological gateway drug”

    As are tobacco, alcohol, caffiene, and many common prescription medications.

    Experts at Johns Hopkins want warning labels on Red Bull. (of course that is produced by a highly profitable corporation, not dirty hippies, so it is different)

    I am curious, you are not advocating that Red Bull be outlawed, nor booze, nor cigarettes. Why not?

    You are simply the modern version of the uptight middle American circa 1964. You don’t have a problem with substances you find acceptable being legal, despite the catastrophic costs they have to both individuals and society as a whole. Pot on the other hand, is the province of hippies and hipsters, and if they use it they belong in prison.

    The guy in 1964 was ignorant because we simply did not know better back then. We do now, but you choose to dwell in ignorance and advocate using the force of government to compel people to live their lives in a manner YOU are comfortable with.

    People with addictive personalities can get addicted to a stiff breeze. I was an alcoholic after 1 drink, at the age of 13. If you could wave a magic wand and remove pot from the universe, it would not alter the number of people addicted to stronger drugs.

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  54. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    I simply love it when two of us talk past each other, and try to invent or extend the gaps. I never intended to write a tome on addiction because the subject was confined to cannabis, yet I find myself being accused of neglecting alcohol, and God knows what else, circa 1964! Insane!

    Sorry for your affliction to ingesting booze, and I can agree with its potency for damage. It is even worse when combined with other drugs, and it most certainly has a greater impact than cannabis. It is also more available at less cost and risk.

    None of the alcoholic issues were the main subject of my posts, however, but rather the gateway effects of cannabis. Of course there are many other gateway substances, alcohol being way up there on the list, but they also were not the main thrust of my post. You are fixated on alcohol, possibly because of your addiction. For this post, I was fixated on pot.

    I challenge your last statement because I know too many men that have gone down the path that begins with pot and ends with far worse substances both singly and several at the same time, and, yes, including alcohol, and eventually a rehab center or jail or both. (The same is true if you begin with alcohol at whatever concentration if your body cannot process it effectively or properly, leadling to addiction.)

    Perhaps it would be informative if a study of how people became addicted was conducted to discover what their particular route into that condition was, and what was the effect of pot and alcohol in the process. Such a study may well exist. It is quite possible that such a study would show that both pot and alcohol played an early and important role in furthering the exploration of drugs of greater and greater potency–that is, their gateway effects could well be additive in seeking ever higher states of bliss or zone out–thus the addict is most always seeking a higher experience.

    I have never used pot or other dope except for a few prescriptions, I do not drink, and I do not smoke, so I cannot feel as you have about the subject, especially bannings. Again you talk past me on the subject of what I want the government to do or not do. We have in place sets of laws that were meant to ban or control addictive substances. The laws must be obeyed. If you don’t like a law, however, you can campaign to have it altered. We had an experiment with banning alcohol and it didn’t work out very well for the people, so it was repealed. I would not want to repeat that experiment.

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  55. anjin-san says:

    The laws must be obeyed.

    Except they are not. There are countries that execute people for using drugs. Guess what, people still use drugs. I broke those laws for 17 years, and never thought twice about it beyond being careful not to get caught. The war on drugs does more damage to society than the drugs do. Why do people want to stay in this bloody feedback loop?

    If you don’t like a law, however, you can campaign to have it altered.

    Waste of time. The war on drugs is a highly profitable industry that has been going on in one form or another for almost a century. It’s not going anywhere. The powers that be have blessed the war on drugs, and most Americans are more worried about who will be the next American Idol that this ongoing train wreck we have in our midst.

    I would not want to repeat that experiment

    Not sure what that means. Prohibition never really left, it just morphed into what we have today. “Marijuana, assassin of youth” was a reaction to the end of prohibition. A whole bunch of law enforcement, criminal justice, and penal workers realized a lot of their funding was about to go away. Presto, a new menace was born. The end result is that cops can kick in your door, shoot your dog in front of your kids, put a gun to your wife’s head and then go “Oops, sorry about that, but we are fighting drugs”. And there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

    Suddenly though, we are having a rational conversation. It should tell you something that someone like me, who paid a high personal price for addiction, and watched a lot of his friends die, feels pot should be legal. People with addictive personalities will find something to get hooked on, trust me.

    Pot is relatively benign. Make it legal, and spend the money where it can be more effective. More treatment, less prison. (Except for people who furnish to minors, lock them up, every time). Put more energy into controlling meth and giving people in ghettos more opportunities in life so that dealing drugs is not the only career path open to them.

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  56. mannning says:

    Prohibition never really left, it just morphed into what we have today.

    I am not sure that I understand this statement. The sale of alcohol to people above a legal age became legal to do. That was a morph I suppose. That there is a prohibition to the sale and purchase alcohol by or to minors remains. I see no problem with that, except in the violation of this part of the current law: it is not adhered to by many adults nor pursued by the police well enough, I believe. But it is at least a law tool that can be used when thought necessary. That is one situation that could stand significant improvement.

    We noticed in Holland a major difference in approach to drinking alcohol and taking drugs. Both were readily available and legal to buy and sell, but by far the majority of teenagers acted responsibly towards their use. It was not cool to become too high: a sort of taboo amongst the youth, and the parents, that was self-governing, so to speak. How this came about is not known to me, but it seemed to work, and those who went further were marginalized socially, but were apparently allowed to continue indulging so long as they didn’t violate other laws. My own kids were brought up to drink responsibly while we were resident there for ten years, and they did so quite nicely. There was a social discipline to the whole thing, I suggest.

    How this attitude could be “imported” to the US is not something that would be easy to implement on a grand scale. It is a cultural difference that permeates society there, and while there is a lot of drinking going on, drunks are hard to find. The same holds for dope users, except in rather specific areas in the major cities, some of which are formally or informally sanctioned by the government to be free zones: gathering spots for all types of users, where the undisciplined and addicted congregate to indulge! So I have witnessed a different approach there, and in Switzerland, where such a free zone had to be shut down after some time because of overuse and violence. In Amsterdam there were gathering spots that for some years were allowed to exist, but they too were eventually shut down: too many young tourists from Germany and America gathered there to indulge!

    Sol I don’t have any simple answers except the idea of family and group discipline which worked for us. We were fortunate not to have kids with addictions “built in,” I suppose. Which leads me to the thought that attempts to enforce such discipline by laws and not by substantial social and parental pressures as well is simply not going to be successful.

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  57. anjin-san says:

    I am not sure that I understand this statement. The sale of alcohol to people above a legal age became legal to do.

    Alcohol became legal again. Instead of dismantling the vast, expensive law enforcement apparatus that grew around whiskey busting and re-allocating the funds that supported it elsewhere, it’s targets were simply changed to pot and other drugs. Prohibition never ended, it just acquired new targets.

    There are no good answers for the problem of substance abuse. Perhaps someday we will have a medical breakthrough that will address the problem. Until then, a good first step would be to legalize pot, tax it, and start to dismantle the war on drugs. It’s a domestic Vietnam. We lost. Let’s deal with it an move on.

    The war on drugs is not about public health or safety. Its not about protecting children. Its all about money, power, and maintaining the status quo.

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  58. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    So you meant the apparatus of prohibition enforcement remained. Dat clopt!

    Maybe so, I do not know. The FBI is still in business. Treasury and the secret service are still in business. DHS (and their Border Patrol) is in business. Rightly so, in my opinion. I have no idea what their relative emphasis is on pot, however, but they do capture large quantities of it entering from Mexico illegally. It would be a risky business to legalize pot, say tomorrow, and then watch the scrambles to use it and for suppliers to reorganize the sources and the distribution, and then to cope with both the surge in use and the followon gateway effects of the increased use.

    I would be very cautious indeed about doing such a thing here, probably to the point of rejecting the idea as being premature and visiting the nation with an unproved and unprepared idea. I would want more facts than I have now on all aspects from well-vetted sources before I’d consider saying yea to legalizing pot.

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  59. mannning says:

    The war on drugs is not about public health or safety. Its not about protecting children. Its all about money, power, and maintaining the status quo.

    In my estimation it is about all of those aspects, and perhaps more. I would add corruption to the list, for example, and that leads to concerns for our government possibly being subverted from top to bottom by drug money. You may have meant status quo for the dealers, but it does mean a parallel degredation of our society and government as well if we are not curbing the influence of drugs.

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  60. anjin-san says:

    You may have meant status quo for the dealers,

    Not at all. I am talking about government and the overall power structure. It’s sociology 101. The people who benefit most from the status quo are most heavily invested in it and will work the hardest to maintain it.

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  61. mannning says:

    Well, yes, that is sort of a truism, a handy, all inclusive jibe when you don’t want to go deeply into just who the individuals are that benefit the most. The status quo you call out must include the President and his associates,and the leftist Democrats in Congress and in government positions. Did you mean to slam this motley crew? I just might agree with you there!

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  62. anjin-san says:

    The status quo you call out must include the President and his associates,and the leftist Democrats in Congress and in government positions.

    Well, you were rational for a few posts, guess that is something.

    As far as government goes, it is a rigged game where the people on top always win. A failed one term member of congress walks away with lifetime financial security. Party affiliation has nothing to do with it.

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  63. mannning says:

    You glided over my words without picking up of the fact that I left the inclusions quite open for additions, but, then, I don’t accuse my fellow Republicans openly of the sins I know about them when I am arguing with leftists against Democrats. LOL! Why give them ammo? Besides, there are enough sinners in the Democrat side to satisfy my need to castigate wonks publically and to do the home team privately, and I will remain a conservative Republican, not a down-with-them-all anarchist!

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