Bumper crop of Commerce Clause cases?
A recurring issue in firearms cases (see Lopez v. US, Bass v. US, etc.) is whether Congress has exceeded its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce when it criminalizes acts such as simple possession of a firearm within a single State.
The U.S. Supreme Court has just accepted its second case this term involving commerce clause issues. Cutter v. Wilkinson (03-9877) involves the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which requires States to make certain accomodations for religious practices for prisoners, and is based in part on Commerce powers. The 6th Circuit invalidated portions of the Act on First Amendment grounds, but the Commerce issue was also raised at the District Court level and is included in the petition for cert. here's a summary. Oral argument is set for May 27.
The Court earlier accepted certiorari in Ashcroft v. Raich (03-1454), which challenges the federal Controlled Substances Act as applied to medicinal marihuana grown and consumed in a single state, as authorized by state law. Summary. Raich was argued November 29, 2004, by none other than Second Amendment author Prof. Randy Barnett.
Both cases should test the Court's ideological impulses, since invalidating the statutes would be an appealing result for the liberal wing (which on the other hand favors a broad reading of Commerce powers) and an appalling result for the conservative wing (which generally favors a narrower reading of those powers).