U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case Challenging Colorado Marijuana Law

March 21, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court today turned down an attempt by Nebraska and Oklahoma to challenge Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, without explanation. The neighboring states had alleged cross-border crime as a result of Colorado’s action, and sought a hearing directly in the Supreme Court to have their complaint aired.

The U.S. government, acting through the Solicitor General, had urged the Court to reject the complaint. The government had pointed out that Colorado did not legalize cross-border marijuana activity, so the neighboring states’ complaint was really against third parties, not Colorado’s policy.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from the Court’s order and would have allowed the lawsuit to go forward. They argue that constitutionally, the Supreme Court does not have discretion to decline to hear a lawsuit brought by one state against another. They especially object to dismissing the case without giving the opportunity to present evidence or without the Court explaining its reasoning.

The case was Nebraska v. Colorado, docket no. 144, Orig.

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