The Supreme Court represents the most powerful check / balance system in American government. Unfortunately, if the Supreme Court consists of a majority of one political party, special interests can result in unconstitutional decisions from by the justices themselves.
Most Democrats were rather pissed to hear about the 5-4 decision that stopped the recounts in Florida. A general cynicism towards the Supreme Court pervaded the country in a way that affected pretty much everybody who didn't want Bush in power, for whatever reasons.
But Libertarians, Greens, Democrats, Socialists, and truly "Conservative" Republicans alike should be glad to hear that the Supreme Court has been overturning rulings in some pretty high-potential-precedent drug cases. In November, their vote was 6-3 to forbid the use of "drug interdiction roadblocks." If you've never seen one, it's basically like a drunk driving checkpoint, except they're looking for illegal drugs. Cars are randomly stopped, a police officer allows a drug-sniffing dog to walk around the car, and if he/she (the dog) shows probable cause ("woof!") then they can pretty much search your car, even though they had no reason to pull you over in the first place. The sneakiest police would put these up on interstate highways, with warning signs posted shortly before highway exits. Anyone who exited, either after seeing the sign or just because this was their exit, was far more likely to get searched.
Today's decision involved a case of hospitals testing pregnant women for illegal drugs without their informed consent, then turning the results over to law enforcement to have the woman punished for doing irreparable harm to the baby. Yes, crack and heroin are very addictive and use during pregnancy may result in premature, addicted babies, but this can usually be cured, with added expense to the mother or her insurance company. Fetal alcohol syndrome is far more destructive, and smoking anything during pregnancy is just stupid, whether it be tobacco, marijuana, crack, PCP, little bits of plastic, parsley, or spaghetti. The court ruled 6-3 in the woman's favor.
Of course it's wrong to do drugs while pregnant, but hospitals shouldn't have the right to assume the role of moral arbiter and decide that any particular woman needs to be screened. And if they do want to test for drugs, they should have a particular reason, and they should inform the patient. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure is a right afforded to all people, and if one waives that right when receiving hospital care, it should be stated somewhere on the paperwork.
So guess who dissented, in favor of the hospitals? Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas -- the three most "conservative" Republicans on the bench. Why? Aren't Republicans against government intrusion? Of course they are, unless it involves the drug war. Since drugs are assumed to massively damage anyone they come into contact with, lives are further torn apart by law enforcement, in a crude form of patriarchal punishment that makes the problem far worse.
I'm sure this quotation is everywhere on everything, but it belongs here also, as Lincoln was our first Republican president...
Prohibition...goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to
control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things
that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very
principles upon which our government was founded. -- Abe Lincoln (This quote may be phony...)
I'm not sure if the November decision also involved a dissent of Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas, but I wouldn't be surprised. Be very afraid if Dubya does exercise his power to appoint another clone if and when the time comes... For now, there is yet another case to be decided that involves unreasonable search and seizure.
The decision will be whether or not it is constitutional to allow law enforcement to use thermal imaging equipment to detect marijuana grow operations.