Posts Tagged ‘commerce clause’

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Supreme Court Decisions Every American Should Know About #2: U.S. v. Lopez

August 10, 2009

Today I continue my series of posts on Supreme Court decisions that, in my opinion, greatly redefined how a particular provision of the Constitution is interpreted or had a long-lasting impact on some area of public policy in the United States, for better or for worse.

This installment features the case United States v. Lopez, a 1995 case on the Commerce Clause which may have actually saved federalism in America from near-certain demise.

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United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) put an end to the ridiculous expansion of Congressional power through the Commerce Clause that had occurred for the 50 years following the decision in Wickard v. Filburn (see my post on Wickard for more info). Justice Rehnquist, writing the opinion, put his foot down and said that there is a clear limit to what constitutes economic activity in interstate commerce within the meaning of the Commerce Clause.

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Supreme Court Decisions Every American Should Know About #1: Wickard v. Filburn

August 5, 2009

Today will be the first installment of a new series of posts I intend to write: Supreme Court Decisions Every American Should Know About.

Each post will feature a particular Supreme Court decision that, in my opinion, greatly redefined how a particular provision of the Constitution is interpreted or had a long-lasting impact on some area of public policy in the United States, for better or for worse.

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Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) was described by JusticeĀ  William Rehnquist in 1995 as “perhaps the most far reaching example of Commerce Clause authority over intrastate commerce.” This decision set a precedent which for the next 53 years would enable Congress to use the commerce clause to regulate all sorts of commercial activities that were once safe within the confines of the states’ police powers.

Growing too much of this would get you a hefty fine during the New Deal, even though starving people everywhere in America would have loved you for it.

Growing too much of this would get you a hefty fine during the New Deal, even though starving people everywhere in America would have loved you for it.

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