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Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Makes Snarky Comment About Marijuana Legalization


One of my old college professors is infatuated with United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. That professor has published several books dealing with female Supreme Court Justices, and recently published one specifically about the legal opinions that Justice Sotomayor has issued during her career. That college professor was my favorite when I was in college, and I still seek her advice to this day. As a result, I have always been a Sotomayor fan a little bit.

So it was very disheartening to watch a video during which Justice Sotomayor made a snarky comment about marijuana legalization. The video was recorded during a speaking session Justice Sotomayor participated in at Amherst. Justice Sotomayor was giving a very passionate speech about the need to restore faith in government. She talked about her involvement in the civil rights movement, and the need for college students to vote.

She then started to talk about passion, and the need for college students to be passionate about something. She then says that they can be passionate about marijuana legalization, but…then says ‘eh’ and shrugs her shoulders as to suggest that the issue isn’t that important. To be fair she did go on to say that there have been people that have been passionate about it, and have ‘accomplished things’ but in a way that completely understates the achievements of cannabis activists. Below is the video I’m talking about, which was put on YouTube by the amazing activist Tom Angell:

In order to restore faith in government, and in order to engage college students and to get them to be passionate about social justice, I can’t think of a better way to do all of those things than to fight for marijuana reform. Justice Sotomayor said in her speech that people need to believe that their government is doing the right thing. How is prohibiting cannabis a good thing? Especially considering the racial injustices that marijuana prohibition perpetuates. I hope that someone is able to pull Justice Sotomayor to the side and explain to her that she is too smart to think of marijuana reform as a ho-hum issue. It’s far from that. Marijuana prohibition has ruined many, many lives, and specifically has prevented many people from going to college because they had their financial aid revoked due to a marijuana charge. Marijuana legalization is a serious issue, which Justice Sotomayor should be well aware of.


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  1. you are correct Von, she is actually advocating for marijuana activism as a legitimate form of civil activism to bring us together. She just expressed herself carefully but affirmatively. She has always been for choice in an informed public. She talks to inspire the crowd and describes her part in the tail end of the civil rights movement to suggest what she is talking about in this video is part of the same activism. The only specific issue activism she talked about was legalizing marijuana because it is so connected to civil rights and is something that can be done now. Ending the criminality of marijuana would reverse decades of criminalized lifestyle issues used to subjugate blacks. This was not at all lost on Sotomayor or the people she was talking to. The fact she moved into the crowd really personalized and humanized the issue she was endorsing, free the weed and get on with other larger issues (yes there are a few! lol but weed is up there too ).

  2. You mean cannabis legalization..

    …not the removal of the unConstitutional Controlled Substances Act?

  3. If it didn’t get them high or they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t care about the freedom.

    Maybe we should stand for everyone’s freedom instead of just our own

    You have the right to shoot clean heroin in my opinion if you want as long as you can be otherwise decently responsible with your life.

    The Nazi’s wanted their own freedom and had no care for others freedom’s. Thats an exaggerated example, but punishing people for being drug addicts is like punishing them for being obese.


  4. saynotohypocrisy on

    Interesting. I don’t support such usage of the word without considering the issue of intent.

    Was Sotomayor’s dismissal of the importance of cannabis legalization (even medicinal??) a lie by this standard? It creates a false and misleading impression of how important equality for cannabis users is.

  5. In Gonzales v Raich (2005) Justice O’Connor wrote the dissenting opinion. I recommend reading all of it if you haven’t already, but here’s a bit of note.

    This case exemplifies the role of States as laboratories. The States’ core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 635 (1993); Whalen v. Roe, 429 U.S. 589, 603, n. 30 (1977). Exercising those powers, California (by ballot initiative and then by legislative codification) has come to its own conclusion about the difficult and sensitive question of whether marijuana should be available to relieve severe pain and suffering. Today the Court sanctions an application of the federal Controlled Substances Act that extinguishes that experiment, without any proof that the personal cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, if economic activity in the first place, has a substantial effect on interstate commerce and is therefore an appropriate subject of federal regulation. In so doing, the Court announces a rule that gives Congress a perverse incentive to legislate broadly pursuant to the Commerce Clause–nestling questionable assertions of its authority into comprehensive regulatory schemes–rather than with precision. That rule and the result it produces in this case are irreconcilable with our decisions in Lopez, supra, and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). Accordingly I dissent.
    The Court’s definition of economic activity is breathtaking. It defines as economic any activity involving the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities. And it appears to reason that when an interstate market for a commodity exists, regulating the intrastate manufacture or possession of that commodity is constitutional either because that intrastate activity is itself economic, or because regulating it is a rational part of regulating its market. Putting to one side the problem endemic to the Court’s opinion–the shift in focus from the activity at issue in this case to the entirety of what the CSA regulates, see Lopez, supra, at 565 (“depending on the level of generality, any activity can be looked upon as commercial”)–the Court’s definition of economic activity for purposes of Commerce Clause jurisprudence threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach.

    The Court uses a dictionary definition of economics to skirt the real problem of drawing a meaningful line between “what is national and what is local,”Jones & Laughlin Steel, 301 U.S., at 37. It will not do to say that Congress may regulate noncommercial activity simply because it may have an effect on the demand for commercial goods, or because the noncommercial endeavor can, in some sense, substitute for commercial activity. Most commercial goods or services have some sort of privately producible analogue. Home care substitutes for daycare. Charades games substitute for movie tickets. Backyard or windowsill gardening substitutes for going to the supermarket. To draw the line wherever private activity affects the demand for market goods is to draw no line at all, and to declare everything economic. We have already rejected the result that would follow–a federal police power. Lopez, supra, at 564.

  6. Unfortunately the DEA has completely ignored that bill. I believe the sponsors are attempting to address that, but almost nothing in the government moves at real world speed.

    “A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medicalmarijuana laws doesn’t prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property.”

  7. Why is it that you guys always accuse others of mental health issues? Do you just like to minimize the importance of mental health, or are you projecting?

    “My GOP buddies? Based on what facts?”

    Based on the fact that you’re praising Rand Paul.

    Now, the obvious thing here is what you’re avoiding which is that you could have googled Bernie Sanders’ marijuana record before you started spewing things out as if they were true, when they’re not.

    I see two definitions in Webster’s dictionary for liar:

    1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive

    2 : to create a false or misleading impression

    Since I can’t know your intent (although I can certainly guess), I’m going with number two.

    Love the concern trolling:

    “you don’t want to make other socialists like yourself look like angry imbalanced idiots.”

    Rand Paul Glibertarians already look like angry imbalanced idiots, so I’m not particularly worried about you tarnishing their brand.

  8. You should seek professional psychiatric help immediately. My GOP buddies? Based on what facts? Are you openly lying about me being a GOP with buddies, or are you just plain wrong about that? One answer makes you a complete hypocrite and the other answer makes you a lunatic, you choose.

    If you are going to be that hysterical you really should seek professional help, there is something seriously wrong with your brain. Now stop conversing with me with your crazy talk and chill out if you don’t want to make other socialists like yourself look like angry imbalanced idiots.

  9. Sotomayor was always kind of viewed as this less than intelligent, but placed there simply due to her race. Her IQ is no higher than mine or yours, shes simply an affirmative action choice. Shes nothing special, certainly nothing to actually go listen to (anyone who was there was probably just there for the college credit). What she thinks is irrelevant. 420!!

  10. See above comment.

    As for representing a cause, I’m sure your GOP buddies are proud of you for openly lying, but to the rest of us, it makes you look willfully ignorant of facts one can easily find.

  11. “for unknown reasons”


    Here’s how this works: this winger has no idea if Sanders has ever supported rescheduling. He has Google at his fingertips. Instead of looking it up, he makes a statement that is the opposite of the truth.

    If there was no google, you might have a point. Had he said “I don’t think” or “as far as I know” then, sure. But he just comes right out and says Sanders never did what he actually did, it’s a blatant lie.

  12. saynotohypocrisy on

    peoriadude is right, Scott, there’s a big difference between a lie and an error. Liar isn’t a word you want to use loosely. “That’s bullshit’ seems a more effective retort when someone has their facts, for unknown reasons, wrong.

  13. saynotohypocrisy on

    Selling crack can be very illegal at the same time that using it is decriminalized and treated as a public health matter. Some European countries including Portugal have done this with illegal drugs with good results.
    The problems are that this approach keeps prices at black market levels, with addicts still committing crimes to get the money to pay those prices, and continues to empower the violent black market and its web of corruption.
    Why not offer addicts, at least, a deal: they can have their drug at a non-black market price, if it return they commit to not causing society any problems? That would be one hell of an incentive to them to not cause society any problems.

  14. the question should not be why individuals would choose to exercise their basic freedom, but why the government believes it is entitled to withhold and criminalize a beneficial substance.

  15. it is for a lack of faith in this Government that i vote fuck corporitized America, we are making changes, This is why Bernie Sanders is surging the vote away from Hillary

  16. BongRipsForJesus on

    Since I expect not to be judged by people who choose alcohol or anything else, I cannot judge another for the vice they choose. If users will go to any lengths to get it, what is your rationale for keeping it from them? Who is really being harmed here? Besides, we all agree that you cannot help someone who does not want it, so we should at least make it easier for those who do want help by removing the stigma and fear of criminal punishment.

    You fail your own exam…

  17. saynotohypocrisy on

    And what if a landlord won’t give poor tenants permission to grow their 4 plants? What if someone is disabled? People don’t have to be able to manufacture their own alcohol to have access to affordable alcohol, why should it be any different with far safer weed?

  18. saynotohypocrisy on

    Everyone’s own freedom has special importance to them, as it should, so what’s your point?

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