Touby V. United States Case Study

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Identification of the case:
Touby v. United States, 500 U.S. 160 (1991).
The Controlled Substance Act authorizes the Attorney General to add new drugs to five schedules of controlled substances. The act regulates or prohibits the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of these drugs. Due to the length of time required to come into compliance with these regulations, street dealers were able to alter the chemical makeup of their drugs which would closely mirror the effects of “scheduled substances”. One of these designer drugs is known as “Euphoria.” Dealers were able to manufacture and sell these “designer drugs” prior to the Government placing them on a schedule of controlled substances, staying one step ahead of the authorities
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was authorized by statute. (Daniel Touby, et ux., Petitioners v. United States, 1991)
The U.S Supreme Court held that Congress could constitutionally delegate the legislative power to the Attorney General to add or remove substances from the controlled substances schedule without judicial review. The Court further found that the Attorney General’s “sub delegation” to the D.E.A. was authorized by statute.
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Drug dealers were able to make and sell designer drugs which mirror the effects of scheduled substances but have slightly different chemical compositions. These drugs could be made long before the Government was able to schedule them and initiate prosecutions. (Daniel Touby, et ux., Petitioners v. United States, 1991) The Court relied upon this public policy and backed its decision in general legal principal. First addressed was the non-delegation doctrine. Congress may not constitutionally delegate its legislative power to another branch of government. This comes from Article I, section I of the US Constitution which states that only Congress has the power to make or repeal laws. (Daniel Touby, et ux., Petitioners v. United States, 1991) The courts continue to recognize that the doctrine is not violated as long as Congress sets limits and boundaries on their power. The Court furthermore recognized the largest limitation to this power; the Attorney General’s discretion was temporary and would need to be codified by Congress. This power is also limited to substances that must be added to protect the public from imminent harm. An added drug can only meet this imminent hazard criteria through three factors; 1. The drug’s history and pattern of abuse, 2. Scope, significance and duration of the abuse, and 3. Risk, if any, to the public health. The statute then inserted another layer of protection by placing a special

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