Tuesday, February 20, 2024

What Is SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Stance On Marijuana?

The U.S. Senate is presently in the process of grilling President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to determine if he is the man to uphold the law and the Constitution. Tuesday began a series of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, launching a vicious bipartisan cat fight that resulted in Democratic senators trying to sandbag the proceedings during opening remarks. It is this claws-out, gnashing teeth reaction to the longtime conservative that has prevented us from learning more about Kavanaugh’s stance on controversial issues, including marijuana.

Democrats have a problem with the overall pulse of this nomination. The party was already opposed to Kavanaugh due to his position on abortion, gun rights and presidential power, so they want more time to review his history as a federal judge and White House staffer under George W. Bush.

But most of those records have not been made available. Trump’s gatekeepers have prevented the necessary documents from crawling to the surface. Only documents dealing with Kavanaugh’s White House days were released less than 24 hours prior to the initial hearing.

Not much is known, at least at this juncture, about whether Kavanaugh would be a detriment in the grand scheme of cannabis reform in the U.S.. But there are enough clues to suggest the nominee would not side with cannabis legalization or related topics if presented with a case. So, until he is asked directly about his position on the newly legal cannabis climate in parts of the country, we only have a few tidbits to go on.

On the subject of workplace drug testing, which was presented in an appellate court case dealing with employees who work with at-risk youth, Kavanaugh argued, “that the government’s strong interest in ensuring a drug-free workforce at these schools outweighs the infringement of individual privacy associated with this drug testing program.

“In residential schools for at-risk youth, many of whom have previously used drugs, it seems eminently sensible to implement a narrowly targeted drug testing program for the schools’ employees. In these limited circumstances, it is reasonable to test; indeed, it would seem negligent not to test,” he added.

The Supreme Court nominee is also of the opinion that terminally ill patients should not have the freedom to use experiment drugs not yet approved by the FDA. Over a decade ago, Kavanaugh ruled in a Court of Appeals case, saying, “there is no fundamental right ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ of access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill.”

While Kavanaugh has all the makings of a ghastly beast, he said earlier this summer that his “judicial philosophy is straightforward.” He went on to explain that, “a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”

There is speculation that Kavanaugh will be asked questions about cannabis policy during the hearings. Yet, Democrats are riled up enough over other major issues that could end up overshadowing the topic. But we shall see.


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