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Back to the Future? (Thomas Sowell)
Creators Syndicate ^ | March 27, 2012 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 03/26/2012 10:30:43 AM PDT by jazusamo

When a 1942 Supreme Court decision that most people never heard of makes the front page of the New York Times in 2012, you know that something unusual is going on.

What makes that 1942 case — Wickard v. Filburn — important today is that it stretched the federal government's power so far that the Obama administration is using it as an argument to claim before today's Supreme Court that it has the legal authority to impose ObamaCare mandates on individuals.

Roscoe Filburn was an Ohio farmer who grew some wheat to feed his family and some farm animals. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined him for growing more wheat than he was allowed to grow under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which was passed under Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce.

Filburn pointed out that his wheat wasn't sold, so that it didn't enter any commerce, interstate or otherwise. Therefore the federal government had no right to tell him how much wheat he grew on his own farm, and which never left his farm.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people. So you might think that Filburn was right.

But the Supreme Court said otherwise. Even though the wheat on Filburn's farm never entered the market, just the fact that "it supplies a need of the man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market" meant that it affected interstate commerce. So did the fact that the home-grown wheat could potentially enter the market.

The implications of this kind of reasoning reached far beyond farmers and wheat. Once it was established that the federal government could regulate not only interstate commerce itself, but anything with any potential effect on interstate commerce, the Tenth Amendment's limitations on the powers of the federal government virtually disappeared.

Over the years, "interstate commerce" became magic words to justify almost any expansion of the federal government's power, in defiance of the Tenth Amendment. That is what the Obama administration is depending on to get today's Supreme Court to uphold its power to tell people that they have to buy the particular health insurance specified by the federal government.

There was consternation in 1995 when the Supreme Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school was not interstate commerce. That conclusion might seem like only common sense to most people, but it was a close 5 to 4 decision, and it sparked outrage when the phrase "interstate commerce" failed to work its magic in justifying an expansion of the federal government's power.

The 1995 case involved a federal law forbidding anyone from carrying a gun near a school. The states all had the right to pass such laws, and most did, but the issue was whether the federal government could pass such a law under its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The underlying argument was similar to that in the 1942 case of Wickard v. Filburn: School violence can affect education, which can affect productivity, which can affect interstate commerce.

Since virtually everything affects virtually everything else, however remotely, "interstate commerce" can justify virtually any expansion of government power, by this kind of sophistry.

The principle that the legal authority to regulate X implies the authority to regulate anything that can affect X is a huge and dangerous leap of logic, in a world where all sorts of things have some effect on all sorts of other things.

As an example, take a law that liberals, conservatives and everybody else would agree is valid — namely, that cars have to stop at red lights. Local governments certainly have the right to pass such laws and to punish those who disobey them.

No doubt people who are tired or drowsy are more likely to run through a red light than people who are rested and alert. But does that mean that local governments should have the power to order people when to go to bed and when to get up, because their tiredness can have an effect on the likelihood of their driving through a red light?

The power to regulate indirect effects is not a slippery slope. It is the disastrous loss of freedom that lies at the bottom of a slippery slope.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: 10thamendment; interstatecommerce; obamacare; sowell; statesrights; thomassowell
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To: jazusamo

It would seem that the 10th Amendment does give extensive powers to the state, or local governments, to regulate many forms of behavior and limit freedoms. Those powers that are not prohibited to the states and to the peole by the Constitution are fair game, to paraphrase the amendment.

Thus the states can mandate RomneyCare in Massachusetts and prohibitions on smoking in public places, to name a couple examples. But enactments at the local level are much more likely to be democratically reflective of the populace.

And maybe more importantly, when the laws imposed become too onerous, the population is free to move elsewhere. As we say they can vote with their feet, taking their tax revenue and livelihoods with them. That is why anything that can be done at the local level, should be done at the local level.

41 posted on 03/26/2012 7:27:23 PM PDT by omni-scientist
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To: Graewoulf


42 posted on 09/28/2013 11:33:15 PM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: First_Salute

Obama has found it very easy to advance his narrow ideological agenda of failure-prone Marxism.

4 years after Obama conned his Democrats into passing the Federal takeover of the cash cow of Medical Insurance, the PC, Doormat Republicans are finally timidly suggesting defunding that Federal takeover.

Without the weak, PC, Doormat Republicans Boehner and McConnell being stupidly kept in their respective leadership positions by truly cowardly House and Senate Members, Obama Medical Insurance “Care” Takeover would have been defunded long ago.

The primal yearning of the 47 % who pay no personal Federal Income tax is to belong to a tribe where all of their choices are dictated to them by their arrogant tribal leader.

This a common trait of those who have low self-esteem.

In that sense, Obamanation is truly a cult.

Freedom is defined in the dictionary as follows:
1.) Exemption or liberation from slavery or imprisonment.
3.) Liberty of choice or action.

Most of the 47 % riding in the “free” wagon seek out slavery, and lack of personal choice.

They thus feel safe.

Liberty is defined in the dictionary as follows:
1.) The state of being exempt from the domination of others or from restricting circumstances; freedom.
5.) The power of voluntary choice: freedom from necessity.
6.) Individual Liberty: Freedom from restraint in the performance of rights outside of government control.

Most people who are getting a free ride in the wagon where 47 % pay no personal Federal Income Taxes, are terrified of making a voluntary choice.

The 47 % would prefer that they be under government control where the choices are made for him.

All of this societal wussiness has made it very easy for B. Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, to advance his narrow ideological agenda of European-style, failure-prone, Marxism in spite of PC, Doormat Republican token “opposition.”

BTW, unlike taxes, Federal Obama ‘care’ Insurance charges can be increased EVERY YEAR to whatever % the present and future arrogant leaders of Obamanation wants.

BTW, BTW, the free-loading 47 % will always vote for the Candidate for POTUS approved by Obamanation.

43 posted on 09/29/2013 7:54:48 AM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Marxist Obama'care' Insurance violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: First_Salute

The GOP made the mistake of putting three Doormat Republicans in for the final innings of three important POTUS Games.

Batter “Doormat” Dole struck out first, “Doormat” McCain struck out second, and then “Doormat” Romney was called out on three strikes right down the middle.

All that training, and he didn’t even swing! In fact, the bat never left his shoulder. However, Romney did have a great smile and good hair.

With the POTUS Game lost, the GOP Big Tent fell into disrepair.

Gradually, the increasing stench made it obvious that the old GOP had died when Romney lost in 2012.

We are just now finally casting off the dead weight of the old GOP in the Senate.

We are looking forward to the Senate Primary Season.

The lingering stench of the putrid GOP dead weight was decreased a lot this week by nice cool breezes coming out of TEXAS and Utah.

One benefit of a battle is to find out for sure who your hidden enemies are.


Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
John Barrasso (R-WY)

John Hoeven (R-ND)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Richard Burr (R-NC)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Jeff Chiesa (R-NJ)

John McCain (R-AZ)
Dan Coats (R-IN)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Lisa Murkowksi (R-AK)

Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Thune (R-SD)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Bob Corker (R-TN)

44 posted on 09/29/2013 8:09:30 AM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Marxist Obama'care' Insurance violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Graewoulf

Out of the park!

Nicely done, and thank you.

45 posted on 09/29/2013 1:05:26 PM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: Graewoulf

My only disagreement with you, is that half of the “47%” ... are of “CORPORATE AMERICA” aka “the suits.”

Their attire and resumes mask a lot of “wussiness” that has replaced *good execution* and *good leadership* with wordity, such as the obsequious:

- “going forward”
- “best practices”
- “expertise”

and other chatterings without substance that decorate their orbits de jeur.

Indeed, “substance.” That which is missing from that half of “47%” who, when you look to your left and to your right in the trenches where we are attempting to defend our liberty ... *THEY ARE NOT THERE!*

Thus, it is no wonder, that in order to lessen their shame, they (WITH THE HELP OF GEORGE W. BUSH AND TRENT LOTT) let off the skunk, Clinton, The Duke of Bent, and then they voted for more, as in Saul Alinsky Obama (rather than Saul Alinsky Romney).

So, I’m taking some liberty to split that “47%” among the wusses, because there probably are many people without much, who do struggle and try hard -— as hard as the *real* leaders in business and medicine and elsewhere.

46 posted on 09/29/2013 1:25:07 PM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: jazusamo

The SCOTUS case Raich took that absurdity even farther.

The case was a terminally ill old lady in CA who, legally under state regulation and doctor’s care, was growing six pot plants. The DEA executed a dynamic raid, smashed into her house, and confiscated the plants.

SCOTUS ruled the raid Constitutional, on the bizarre grounds that any in-state LEGAL activity which REDUCED demand in ILLEGAL interstate commerce was covered and actionable.

(One motivation may have been that had they ruled the sane way, the simultaneous Stewart case before them would have consequently made legal for felons to make their own machineguns from scratch.)

47 posted on 09/29/2013 1:40:45 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless.)
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