Wise words from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel: “Congress does bad things all the time that aren't unconstitutional.”
And so do presidents and governors and state legislators and even attorneys general. In fact, it was an effort by some of his fellow attorneys general to use the courts for partisan political purposes that prompted McDaniel to speak up. He was declining to join them in threatening to sue the federal government over a provision of a health-care reform bill that was approved by the Senate. Most of the potential plaintiffs are Republicans; several are running for higher office.
The offending provision would benefit a few states over the rest. It'll be changed before a health-care bill becomes law, but even if it weren't, it wouldn't violate the Constitution. This is how American government works. Bad ideas sometimes prevail, as do bad candidates. Some of these suit-happy attorneys general will likely prevail politically, winning election or re-election, and that won't be unconstitutional either.
Republican presidents have packed the federal judiciary with elitists who mistrust popular government. The elitists overturned one presidential election, and the consequences were horrible. But even they won't throw out an act of Congress simply because one group gains more than others. They know that the next bill challenged on the same grounds might be one that benefits their friends.
Spend wisely, directors
Would the money that the Little Rock Board of Directors and various city agencies give to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce be better spent on a campaign to legalize medical marijuana? It seems likely. Such a course of action would not only show compassion for neighbors in need, it would probably be more fruitful in the way of economic development.
Polls indicate that an initiated act to permit medical use of marijuana would be approved if it ever got on the ballot. Legalization would attract new residents, and catch the eye of industrialists seeking to locate plants in states that are forward-looking and humane. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that public agencies now hand over to the Chamber of Commerce would help considerably in the gathering of signatures needed to place a medical-marijuana act on the ballot. We don't know precisely what the Chamber has been doing with the public money — the organization believes that public money should be spent in private — but we do know that the Chamber is dedicated to keeping workers low-paid and non-union. That approach has not brought prosperity to Arkansas yet.