Civilized report

The Court recently held oral arguments for a case of District of Columbia v. Wesby. In 2008, police responded to a noise complaint at a house party in D.C. The people at the party were told by a woman named “Peaches” that they were allowed to be there, but the actual owner of the house said they were not, and the partygoers were arrested. The partygoers sued the city, saying they had no reason to know that they were illegally on that property and were not at fault.

During the oral arguments, Justice Elena Kagan began to argue that it wasn’t possible for people going to a party to know what would happen once they got there. She then discussed times in her life when she had attended parties only to find out that there was marijuana present.

“I used to be invited to [parties] where [I] don’t know the host,” Justice Elena Kagan said. “And can I say that long, long ago, marijuana was maybe present at those parties.”

She then connected her party going experience back to the case.

“It just is not obvious that the reasonable partygoer is supposed to walk into this apartment and say: Got to get out of here. And it seems a little bit hard that they’re subject to arrest,” she said.

While Kagan didn’t admit to using marijuana herself, the idea that a Supreme Court justice would admit to even attending parties where cannabis was present would probably have been seen as controversial even just 10 years ago. But we’ve come a long way from Bill Clinton claiming he never inhaled, to Barack Obama openly admitting he smoked marijuana.

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