Congress passes legislation and the president is tasked with implementing that legislation unless the legislation is vetoed. The powers of both the legislative and executive branches were on full display with the passage and implementation of the Patriot Act. The U.S. Patriot Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001 – after the events of September 11th that same year. This act was passed because the legislative and executive branches felt there was a need for more cooperation between key government intelligence agencies and broader powers for law enforcement and the overall goal was a safer more secure United States. However, as the events of September 11th become a more distant memory, many have begun to question whether the Patriot Act is too broad in its scope and if the Act infringes on individual civil rights and liberties. In your opinion, does the Patriot Act infringe on civil rights and liberties? Explain your reasoning, discuss why you do or do not support the Patriot Act, and provide at real-world examples/evidence that support your answer.
Our federal government has many duties, obligations, and powers under the Constitution. Some scholars argue that the reach of the federal government should be limited and constrained. Other scholars argue that the federal government should not be constrained or limited where the welfare of the U.S. people is concerned. For example, in the case, Gonzales v. Raich, the boundaries of the federal government’s definition of interstate commerce are in question. In this case, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents took marijuana plants from a woman’s home in California under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. However, under California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, the plants were allowed for medical use. For this discussion, address the following questions:
Does the federal government have the right to ban marijuana under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution?
Is this an overreach of the federal system, or is this effort in line with the duties and obligations of our central government described in the Constitution?
Be sure to explain your reasoning, discuss why you do or do not think this issue is an overreach of the federal government, and utilize the Commerce Clause to augment you claims.