by Kevin Peterford – Wednesday, March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States. Merrick Garland is currently the chief judge for the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was appointed to this position in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. He has served in both private practice and the Justice Department. This article will discuss how Merrick Garland has ruled on guns and marijuana.
According to Twitter, the “NRA, on behalf of its 5 [million] members, will oppose Merrick Garland.” It appears clear that the National Rifle Association is not fond of Merrick Garland’s stance on the Second Amendment. In 2008’s Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the District of Columbia’s ban on citizens’ having hand guns in their homes restriction was unconstitutional. The events prior to the Supreme Court decision are what is important. Prior to this, the Court of Appeal’s initial three-judge panel struck down the ban. What the NRA must not like is when the Washington D.C. government asked the Circuit Court to rehear the case en banc, among the four voters who voted to re hear the case was Merrick Garland. Even though Garland didn’t take a formal position on the merits of the case, Fox News reports that critics saw Garland’s vote to re-hear the case as a backing for the D.C. gun restriction. The NRA is also not a fan of Garland’s voting in 2000 to allow the FBI to keep gun sale records to help with criminal background checks. The NRA will certainly attempt to make sure the Senate keeps Merrick Garland holstered.
Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. . . [and]. . . are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules.” Around 2013, Americans For Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, sought to reschedule marijuana under the DEA’s Controlled Substance Act so that more research could be done on the potential medical applications of marijuana, says Sun Times Network. Even though Garland sided with the DEA, marijuana advocates appreciate that Garland gave great weight to the science evidence presented. Today, Vice News reports that marijuana advocates praised Garland and that his reliance on science is a “positive for the [marijuana] industry.”
Whether or not you feel that now is the time for Merrick Garland to get the call up is a whole other issue. But, when it comes to the Second Amendment, we have somewhat of an idea how Merrick Garland feels. He voted to re-hear a case involving a ban on handguns. In the field of marijuana (no pun intended), Garland wants to see the science.