The states complained that Colorado's establishment of a legal, regulated market caused marijuana to flow into their states, thereby undermining their strict laws. This, they claimed, caused "irreparable injury" by draining their treasuries, placing stress on their criminal justice systems and endangering the health of their residents.
Anticipating the result in the same-sex marriage cases recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit state and local officials from issuing or recognizing the marriage licenses of same-sex couples. Is this really about states' rights or is it just another instance of states' rights being used as code for a license to discriminate?
Sen. Cruz's "State Marriage Defense Act" is unlikely to become law anytime soon. Yet it is a good example of the kind of chaotic reaction the U.S. Supreme Court eventually could unleash if it upheld anti-gay state marriage laws in the case it will hear later this term. Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts, are you listening?
Intellectually, there's a case to be made for the rights of state government in the face of federal power. States pre-existed the federal government. States organized and fought a revolution to break free of a strong central government. Washington is, after all, the creation of a contract among sovereign states.