I don't agree with Nathan Newman's view that liberals should favor ending judicial review for constitutionality (except in the case of equal protection violations), but it is well worth checking out. I definitely do agree with him that in the case of yesterday's medical marijuana decision from the Supreme Court, it is a victory for the progressive movement that by a 6-3 margin the Court was unwilling to roll back New Deal-era decisions about the power of the federal government any further than they did in the '90s. (More on that point here.)
Newman's more general point is that liberals are better off building political majorities than hoping for the Supreme Court to issue set-in-stone decisions that supposedly enshrine good laws forever. That point holds up very well in the case of medical marijuana. The Supreme Court didn't say that the Constitution requires that marijuana be illegal, it only said that the federal laws banning possession and use apply even when the same conduct is legal under state law, as in the case of medical marijuana users in Colorado and elsewhere. All that needs to be done to change this situation is to get Congress to pass the law.
And if you say Congress would not pass the law, what you are saying is that the people can't be trusted to be educated about the benefits of medical marijuana, and that medical marijuana is so important of an issue that it is worth risking feeding the whole "Constitution in exile" movement just to get medical marijuana users out West free from the prospect of federal prosecution. But eleven states (granted, almost all in the West) have enacted medical marijuana laws. The West might be ahead of the curve on the issue but there is no reason to believe the rest of the country can't be convinced to support medical marijuana.
Now I don't blame sick people for filing a lawsuit to stop misguided federal prosecutions, even when they end up promoting one of the right's pet legal theories. But the situation going forward, at least here in Colorado, is that medical marijuana is still legal under state law, there will be no state prosecutions for that non-crime, and basically it is up to the Bush Administration to decide how heavy-handed they want to be in enforcing the federal law out in the various Western states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. So this is hardly the end of the medical marijuana movement. And if this decision helps that movement (and the related movement to end marijuana prohibition) move away from a judicial strategy and towards one designed to secure political majorities in favor of reform, it could end up being a net plus for the cause.