As a lawyer, I hear people extol the virtues of states’ rights on a regular basis. In short, it is the doctrine that is meant to protect individual states from interference by the federal government. It is often (but not always) invoked by Republicans and conservatives as a cornerstone of American government. The problem is that most politicians only invoke the doctrine when it is ideologically useful to them. And President Donald Trump and his administration aren’t even hiding their hypocrisy when it comes to when they choose to use it.
The two issues where the hypocrisy is most glaring is transgender bathroom use and marijuana. The Trump White House screams states’ rights when it comes to transgender bathrooms, but is all too happy to exercise federal power when it comes to marijuana. Regarding the pot laws, Press Secretary Sean Spicer says it is all for our own safety:
“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature.”
Despite marijuana’s federal classification as a schedule one narcotic, most scientists would argue that opioids and pot are hardly the same thing. But since when has science ever held Trump and friends back?
They are all too happy to ignore any federal laws that would apply to the transgender bathroom issue, though. The White House signaled this week that it would leave any rule-making, protections, and bans up to the individual states. How generous of them. That would mean transgender people would have wildly different levels of protection depending on what state they live in.
Public opinion is against the Trump administration on both accounts. Surveys show that the American people are for the legalization of marijuana and for allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their gender identity.
So there you go. States’ rights when it is convenient for their ideological point of view, but conveniently forgotten when it conflicts with it.
Hypocrisy at its finest.
Watch a video discussing the issues behind the transgender bathroom debate here:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.