Thursday, July 14, 2011

Regulatory Power Challenge

A 1942 Mistake?
Back in 1942 the Supreme Court made a ruling that has had severe impact on everyone alive in the USA today. It was the Wickard vs. Filburn case. It has similar repercussions as did the Dred Scott case which denied rights to African Americans.

The 1942 case allowed the Federal government to regulate the wheat a farmer grew for use on HIS OWN FARM! This was an extension of the commerce clause. It extended Congress's authority to oversee interstate commerce. Ever since then they have taken full advantage of this ruling.

Impacted legislation
So what exactly did Congress legislate that made a difference in your life? The court ruling gave Congress the authority to "regulate" any activity that might interfere with national policy. This idea impacts the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Controlled Substances Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act - just to name a few!

It also impacts current legislation like Congress banning tungsten light bulbs, and the infamous ObamaCare which requires citizens to purchase health insurance whether they want to or not.

Besides ObamaCare being challenged in the courts because of the stated argument above, the commerce law is also being challenged buy gun owners in 10 states. Gun activists argue that the old law went way beyond its authority and that the Supreme Court wrongly decided in favor of the commerce clause. This leaves a whole trail of cases that would be impacted - INCLUDING gun laws!

Needless to say, the government is dead-set against revising the commerce clause. It will take time to see these challenges play-out in the courts. It may be realistic to expect to see a narrowing of Congressional powers if the Court is realistic!

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