Contents Commerce Power
The Three Main Questions ......................................................................... 3 The Three Eras ........................................................................................... 4 Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) ............................................................................ 5 United States v E.C. Knight Co. (1895) ..................................................... 6 Carter v. Carter Coal (1936) ........................................................................ 7 Houston Ry. v U.S. (1914) ......................................................................... 8 Schechter Poultry v U.S. (1935) ................................................................. 9 Champion v. Ames (Lottery Case 1903) .................................................. 10 Hammer v Dagenhart (The Child Labor Case 1918) ................................. 11 NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937) ......................................... 12 US v. Darby (1941) ................................................................................... 13 Wickard v. Filburn (1942) .......................................................................... 14 Heart of Atlanta Motel v US ...................................................................... 15
The Three Main Questions ............................................................................ 3 The Three Eras .............................................................................................. 4 Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) ............................................................................... 5 United States v E.C. Knight Co. (1895) ......................................................... 6 Carter v. Carter Coal (1936) ........................................................................... 7 Houston Ry. v U.S. (1914) ............................................................................. 8 Schechter Poultry v U.S. (1935) .................................................................... 9 Champion v. Ames (Lottery Case 1903) ...................................................... 10 Hammer v Dagenhart (The Child Labor Case 1918) .................................... 11 NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937) ............................................. 12 US v. Darby (1941) ...................................................................................... 13 Wickard v. Filburn (1942) ............................................................................. 14 Heart of Atlanta Motel v US ......................................................................... 15
Commerce Power The Three Main Questions
Article 1 § 8: “ the Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states and with Indian tribes “. 1937 until the 1990s was a time when the court expansively deﬁne the scope of the Commerce Power and refuse to apply the 10th amendment as a limit. Since the 1990s records again narrowed the scope of the Commerce Power and revive the 10th amendment as an independent judiciary enforceable women on Federal action 1. What is Commerce? Gibbons was the ﬁrst case to consider the scope of the commerce clause. First the court considered what commerce meant. It is not just trafﬁc, it is intercourse, between nations and part of nations in all its branches, and is regulated by the prescribing rules for carrying on that intercourse. According to Gibbons, Commerce includes all phases of business. 2. What is Among the States? Is Congress limited to regulating commerce only when it is interstate? Is intrastate outside Congress power because it is not among the states? A thing which is among is intermingled and does not stop at the boundary line of each state, but may be introduced into the interior. The court did not choose the more broad deﬁnition of "in the midst of" Had the court adopted that deﬁnition, all commerce in the US would be regulated. The completely internal commerce of a state then may be reserved for the state itself. The court made it clear that Congress could regulate intrastate commerce if if it had an impact on interstate activities The court had three deﬁnitions of among to choose from. 1. One would have been to make intrastate beyond the scope of congressional power 2. To deﬁne among as including more than one state. To deﬁne among as in the midst of, in which all commerce could be regulated because it is all in the midst of. In Gibbons the court chose the middle deﬁnition. Unfortunately, this deﬁnition requires case-by-case determination and does not make a bright line like the others.
Commerce Power The Three Main Questions
3. Does State Sovereignty limit congressional power. In Gibbons, the court emphatically rejected any such constraint. The Power is vested an complete. As it should be in a single government. COngress has complete authority to regulate all commerce among the states. COngress can regulate in the same way as if no state governments existed. SInce Gibbons, the court ha not consistently followed this approach.
Commerce Power The Three Eras
Cases Before 1887 Relatively few cases were considered outside of Gibbons until after the civil war related to commerce. Then there were a few cases considering the scope of the power. They were very broad using the Gibbons rule. In one case, The Daniel Ball, Congress was able to license intrastate ships as long as they were carrying goods that had come from other states. Other departed from Gibbons and limited the Commerce Power United States v. Dewitt (1869)- A Federal Law outlawed certain chemicals. The Court held that the law was a police regulation relating exclusively to the internal trade of the states. And Congress had no power to interfere with the internal trade. In the Trademark Cases (1878) - The court invalidated a federal system for registering trademarks. because ti applied the wholly intrastate business and therefore a power not codiﬁed by congress. 1890 -1937 - A limited Federal Commerce Power. This era is extremely important. It is the ﬁrst time that the Supreme Court aggressively used its power of judicial review to invalidate state laws. Constitutional law after 1937, has been primarily a reaction to this era. The court did not invalidate another law exceeding the scope of the commerce clause until 1995. The court philosophy during this era was termed "dual federalism". which was the view that the federal and state governments were separate sovereigns and each had a zone of authority and that it was the judicial role to protect the states through enforcing the constitution to protect the zones reserved to the states. Beginning in the 1890s, Congress took a very different approach than they did in Gibbons. Regulatory matters were being left to the States. The court applied the tenth amendment to reserve a zone of activities for exclusive state control invalidating federal laws that were within the commerce power but usurped the states. To understand the following cases, it is critical to know that the SC majority were committed to a unregulated economy. They were against regulatory interference. These doctrines reﬂect the court's view of the proper role of government and the appropriate role of the court. Beginning in the 1890s, Congress took a very different approach than they did in Gibbons. Regulatory matters were being left to the States. The court applied the
Commerce Power The Three Eras
Gibbons. Regulatory matters were being left to the States. The court applied the tenth amendment to reserve a zone of activities for exclusive state control invalidating federal laws that were within the commerce power but usurped the states. The court deﬁned three doctrines 1. It narrowly deﬁned "commerce" US v EC Knight. (Sherman Antitrust) - Federal law could not be applied because the monopoly was in sugar production not in commerce. This was because of the zone of activities that were cleared for the states Carter v. Carter Coal Co. 2. The Court applied a restrictive interpretation of what "among the states" means. There must be a direct effect on interstate commerce Schecter Poultry - Federal law was unconstitutional based on insufﬁcient effect of interstate commerce. There was no direct relationship. Shreveport Rate Cases - Court upheld the ability to of the interstate Commerce Commission to set intrastate railroad rates because of there direct impact on interstate commerce The difﬁculty is in drawing the distinction between direct and indirect effects. The court struggled with this throughout the era. ✓ One approach was to allow congress to regulate the stream of commerce.
Swift v US - Upheld Sherman Antitrust among meat dealer to ﬁx prices. Although the stockyards were intrastate, they were only a stop interstate. Stafford v Wallace - Upheld the Packers and Stockyards Act which gave the Secretary of Commerce the right to ﬁx rates. They were just being held there for a time in the stream. 3. The Court held that Congress violates the tenth amendment when it regulates matters left to state governments, Even if an activity was commerce and was among the states, Congress could not regulate if it was intruding into the zone of activities reserved for the states. The Tenth amendment reserved control of activities such as minim, manufacturing and production. The Child Labor Case (Hammer v. Dagenhart) - the most signiﬁcant tenth amendment decision. A federal LAw prohibited interstate commerce for good made by Children but it was declare unconstitutional because it controlled
Commerce Power The Three Eras
made by Children but it was declare unconstitutional because it controlled production, which is reserved for the states. The far reaching result of upholding the act cannot be more plainly indicated than by pointing out that if congress can thus regulate matters entrusted to local authority by prohibition of movement of commodities in interstate commerce, all freedom of commerce will be at an end. The Commerce Clause from 1937-1995 By 1937, there was great pressure to change the Constitution with the New Deal. Many different types of pressure came to bear on changing constitutional law but the court was still laissez faire. The distinction placed on indirect and direct effects on Commerce were arbitrary (i.e. mining etc) ANd the economic crisis made the laissez faire doctrine even worse and political pressure for change erupted. This was when Roosevelt tried to add justices to the supreme court to change its makeup. He ultimately gained 6 seats he needed to get his New Deal programs through. (there is no number requirement on justices in the Constitution) Three key decision overruled th earlier decisions and expanded the scope of Congress' power. And because of this, not one federal law was declared unconstitutional in the is era. 1. NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937) - involved a Constitutional Challenge to the NAtional Labor relations Act. which created a right to collective bargaining. It applied when there was an affect on commerce. The Court initially explained how the steel business were a part of the stream of commerce and labor relations had a direct effect on it. It Flatly declared that the employees engaged in production did not mater. 2. US v Darby (1941) - Challenge to the constitutionality of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Prohibited SHipment of goods by employers who did not pay minimum wage. UPheld, it departed from all previous doctrines. The Court rejected the view that production was solely regulated by the states. MOst importantly, the Court overrules Dagenhart and rejected the tenth amendment limits. Now, the law is constitutional so long as it is within the scope of congress; power. 3. Wickard v. Filburn (1941) - left no doubt that the pre-1937 doctrines had been abandoned. The Agricultural adjustment Act limited Wheat production but Filburn went over his allotment because he was only using it for consumption not commerce. The COurt ﬂatly rejected the commerce power enforced in the earlier era. Distinction between commerce and production or direct or indirect effects no longer applied. It upheld the act because the cumulative effect on commerce of many farmers all eating their own wheat had a substantial effect on
Commerce Power The Three Eras
their own wheat had a substantial effect on These three cases adopt broad deﬁnitions of "commerce" and "among the states" and reject the Tenth amendment as a limit on Congress' power. Commerce includes all stages of business and there is no longer a distinction between production and manufacturing etc. Congress can regulate any activity, intrastate or interstate, that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Darby is simply a reminder that the tenth amendment is simply a reminder that congress, to legislate must point to an express or implied power. It no longer reserves a zone of activity for the states. The Test for the Commerce Clause after 1937 After 1937 until 1995, not one federal law was declared unconstitutional as exceeding the scope of the commerce power. In some cases, the court even deleted the word "substantial" and COngress could regulate as long a there was a rational basis for believing there was an effect on commerce. Hodel v Indiana (1981) - " a court may invalidate legislation enacted under the Commerce Clause only if ti is clear that there is no rational basis for a congressional ﬁnding that the regulated activity effects interstate commerce or that there is a reasonable connection between the regulatory means selected and the asserted ends." Civil Rights Laws Among the most important laws ever adopted is the Civil Rights Act of 9164 which prohibits private employment discrimination. Logically it would seem most justiﬁed under the Fourteenth Amendment, but private behavior could not be regulated under the Fourteenth. So Congress chose the commerce clause. Heart of Atlanta Motel v U.S. (1964) The Court upheld the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act to a Motel which would not admit Blacks. The only question was (1) whether Congress had a rational basis for ﬁnding that discrimination at motels affected commerce and (2) that the means it selected to eliminate that evil was reasonable and appropriate Regulatory Laws A key aspect of government since 1937 has been the proliferation of government agencies which came because of the broad commerce clause. This includes anything that can potentially ship across state lines including stocks and insurance policies. Congress can regulate all intrastate activities as long as their is a rational basis. Also, Congress can regulate intrastate activities if necessary to protect its regulation of interstate activities. The regulator power extends even after an
Commerce Power The Three Eras
regulation of interstate activities. The regulator power extends even after an item has been shipped in interstate commerce. Criminal Laws Perez v US (1971) - Title II of the Consumer Credit Protection Act Prohibited loan sharking activities. Defendant said that he operated wholly in NY and there was no evidence that he was part of organized crime. COurt concluded that loan sharking had substantial impact on interstate commerce. Particularized ﬁndings were unnecessary as long as congress had a rational belief that intrastate sharking affected interstate commerce. After Perez, Congress enacted RICO. which makes it a federal crime for any person employed by or associate with any enterprise engaged in or affect commerce in a pattern of racketeering activity. Racketeering is broadly deﬁned to include gambling, prostitution, obscenity, bribery, extortion, and arson.
Commerce Power Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
Facts: Thew New york legislature granted a steamboat monopoly to Robert Fulton which he licensed to Ogden. Gibbons had a competing Ferry Service. Ogden successfully got an injunction against Gibbons due to his monopoly. Gibbons said that he had a right to operate his Ferry due to federal statute. Issue: What is the scope of the Commerce clause and can a state exercise power over a federal statute? Rule: Congress shall regulate commerce and has priority over competing state statutes. Reasoning Commerce power, although general, like the clause to collect taxes, is something speciﬁcally delineated to the government. So when a State regulates commerce between states then it is going against speciﬁcally mandated federal powers. Taxes by the states on the other hand do not keep the Feds from exercising its power to tax. Gibbons argues that "to regulate" is to have full power over the thing. and the court agrees. When states regulate their own internal affairs and those acts interfere with acts of congress, then there is an interference with a citizens federal rights. And the state laws must yield to federal laws. Reversed
Commerce Power United States v E.C. Knight Co. (1895)
What is commerce? Facts: AMerican Sugar Reﬁning Company is a New Jersey Corporation. The other four companies were incorporate din PA and held 33% of the sugar market and competitor of the ASRC. ASRC bought all the other sugar company in the country. The ASRC bought out the stock of the four PA companies, independent and without their knowledge of the monopoly created. ASRC then controlled 90% of the market, Issue: May congress suppress a monopoly on manufacture of good before they enter the stream of commerce. Holding No. Manufacturing is separate from commerce because it happens before any interstate transportation and congress has no power. Reasoning Control of manufacturing or monopolies might restrain trade but that is indirect. Here, Congress did not attempt to deal with the monopoly directly, or restrict corporation created by he states, or or make it criminal. The power to regulate commerce is the power to prescribe the rule b which commerce will be governed and is a power independent of that to suppress a monopoly Ruling Afﬁrmed
Commerce Power Carter v. Carter Coal (1936)
Facts: The Bituminous Coal Conservation Act of 1935 - to stabilize the mining industry, promote interstate commerce, conserve resources etc. The constitutionality of the act was challenged. The acts real purpose was to ﬁx prices at all local mines. Labor provisions allowed for bargaining by miners, independently, without interference or coercion. Issue Can congress legislate local labor management relations under the commerce clause Holding - Local working conditions cannot be regulated by congress under the commerce clause. Reasoning What is Commerce? Intercourse for the purpose of trade. Including transportation, purchase and sale of commodities. it also embraces the instruments for which it is to be carried on. A pretension as far reaching as this would extend to contracts between citizens, and control everybody. But incident leading up to and culminating in mining do not constitute such intercourse. The workers relation to employers are local in character and have nothing to do with commerce. None of these negotiations have anything to do with interstate commerce. It kay have a secondary effects but that is not enough.
Commerce Power Houston Ry. v U.S. (1914)
What does "among the states" mean Supreme court did not have a consistent approach between 1890 and 1937. In some cases, the Court allowed congress the ability to regulate interstate transactions because of their impact in interstate commerce. In other cases, they restricted the power. In reading these cases, look at the different deﬁnitions of among the states. Facts: The suits were brought by the railroads against the Interstate Commerce Commission. to set aside an order on the Grounds that it exceeded its authority. The complaint was that the appellants maintained unreasonable rates. and that the prices discriminated in favor of Texas intrastate. ICC wanted them to raise the intrastate rates. RR said you can't do that because it is not interstate. Issue: May Congress regulate intrastate commerce where it is found to affect interstate commerce. Holding yes, where no federal regulation exists. Reasoning The ICC found that the class rates were unreasonable. Where Congress has the power to regulate trade, it dominates. This has been a tenet of the court. And this was done because of the problems that happened in the articles of confederation. The purpose was to make uniformity of regulation. And to do this, there must be freedom of interstate commerce form local control. Congress is empowered to regulate, to enact all measures necessary and appropriate and to promote growth and safety etc. Its authority extends to all operations that have a substantial relation to interstate trafﬁc. that the control is essential to the security of that trafﬁc, or to the efﬁciency of the service. Wherever there is interstate commerce, it is the Congress, not the states, that have the ﬁnal say. Otherwise, Congress would be denied its constitutional authority So where does Congress get the power to regulate intrastate? Court has a test. If intrastate harms interstate, then you can have jurisdiction. But they don't really say that any measures that are truly interstate can be breached. So they say, When the intrastate activity has a "close and Substantial relationship" with the interstate activity, then congress can regulate it. Fundamental theory is inconsistent with Carter v. Cater Coal and EC Knight dealt with a dual federalist theory. The theory said that if states could regulate it, then the federal government could not. They were mutually exclusive.
Commerce Power Houston Ry. v U.S. (1914)
Commerce Power Schechter Poultry v U.S. (1935)
There were a branch of cases that came like stafford v Wallace, where the court sustained the regulation of intrastate activities in the stockyard of illinois because the stockyards were just a throat through which the stream of commerce passed and the cattle was just waiting for shipping. Facts: Petitioner were convicted for violation of the Live Poultry Code. They are slaughter house operators. NY has large market, Although almost all poultry is sent from other states Petition relates to wages, and hours and sales to retail dealer and butchers in brooklyn. It is no surprise that in NY, poultry comes from out of state. Government had to use regulations Petitioner said that (1) the Code adoption was beyond legislative power. (2) That it attempted to regulate intrastate transactions outside of its power, (3) it was repugnant to the due process clause. Issue Did the defendants transactions directly affect interstate commerce so as to be subject to federal regulation Holding - One goods have traveled interstate to their state, they are no longer part of interstate commerce or under federal jurisdiction Reasoning - Like Carter v Carter Coal but the other end of the stream of commerce. The court concludes in part that he stream of commerce approach did not apply here. The Statute is unconstitutional because there is an unlawful delegation. There is a rule that Constitutional power can only be delegated if there are clear guidelines. Here, the preparation of codes for each industry, including chickens, was delegated to the industries themselves and then that unconstitutional delegation doctrine required that it was unconstitutional and was struck down. The second reason is the Commerce clause - Even though all the chickens came from out of state, it was not considered part of the stream of commerce. The stream of commerce had stopped. Since New York was the ﬁnal destination. Then Necessary and well established distinction between direct and indirect effects on interstate commerce. bright line is case by case. general distinction is If it is purely indirect, then he state maintain the power. (which in essence is him making it up) A substitute for "close and Substantial Relationship The distinction must recognized as fundamental or Congress would have too much power. Ruling
Commerce Power Champion v. Ames (Lottery Case 1903)
Facts: Statute says No Lottery tickets can be transported state to state. Champion purposely carried a box of tickets across state lines. Appellant argues that Congress has the power to regulate, not to prohibit commerce. Prohibiting is a state function. Issue May Congress use the commerce clause to prohibit shipments to protect commerce of all states. Holding Yes Reasoning
The Court says that Congress has the power to regulate and that includes the power to prohibit. The Congress has acquired Police power over time and through these cases. Congress can exclude any item from being transported across state lines. But this is too big and must be done on a case by case basis and this rule does nothing more than say lottery tickets cannot be transported. Ruling - Afﬁrmed
Commerce Power Hammer v Dagenhart (The Child Labor Case 1918)
One of the dumbest decision ever by the SC Facts: Father on behalf of his sons tried to stop a law that prohibited interstate commerce of products made by underaged workers - A child labor law. Issue: Is Congress allowed to regulate Commerce this way Holding - Congress does not have the authority to regulate child labor, a purely state function by preventing interstate commerce of their products Reasoning The statute denies the privilege of the goods in interstate commerce if they were produced in a mill where a child under age 8 was employed. And one would think that after the lottery case, that this was a slam dunk, that there was no way it would not be sustained. But the court say that it is unconstitutional. That it is offends a process that is purely local in character. How does the court not be consistent with the other decisions such as the Mann act, or the lottery case? A state can't protect itself against the unfair competition of goods produced in another State that are subsidized by Child labor? They can't impose a tariff which is totally against the constitution, nor can they make it criminal to use a piece of furniture. Regardless of how it is made. But you could say that you cannot sell lottery tickets or your own body, under the police power. And that is why this is all backwards. Because the states could protect themselves from the lottery type of commerce. Here, the federal government really was exercising a power that congress was supposed to have. Because the states cannot protect themselves from unfair labor practices. One would think this was just a deny of interstate and Congress was allowed to do this. But it is not. At this time, Congress is seeking to regulate the production of goods and since the States can regulate it, then COngress can't. This is Dual Federalism. Also, the evil occurs after the transportation as opposed to here it is before the transportation. This was overturned in US v. Darby
Commerce Power NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937)
Facts: Jones is a huge corporation with 75% of its steel sent outside its home state of PA. Steel Corp violated Labor Act by using unfair labor practices. affecting commerce. They were discriminating through hiring and tenure practices, and coercing and interfering with the Union. NLRB ordered a cease and desist, The corp failed to comply and an action was brought. Issue Is the NLRB an invasion of states power in attempting to regulate all industry. Holding Congressional power to protect interstate commerce is not limited to transact;ions which are "part of the ﬂow" but may be used to regulate those acts which have a substantial relation to interstate commerce which will protect commerce from burden and constructions. Reasoning
The NLRB can be construed as to act within the sphere of constitutional authority. The point of the Act is interstate commerce. The act deﬁnes the term "affecting commerce". which means labor disputes burdening commerce. The deﬁnition is one of inclusion and exclusion. It purports to reach only that which affects commerce and is thus within its sphere. Acts that have effect are not immune because they come out of labor disputes, it is the effect upon commerce, not the source if injury which is the criterion. Defendants argue that manufacturing is not commerce, but protection of commerce is not limited only to commerce. Congress’ authority to deal with such burdens is plenary, and reaches to the source of the burden wherever it may lie. Thus, although the activities may be intrastate in character when separately considered, if they have such a close and substantial relationship to interstate commerce that their control is essential or appropriate to protect that commerce, Congress cannot be denied the power to exercise that control. While it seems this cite would come from Shreveport Rate case, but instead he cited Carter v Carter Coal. Shreveport is the better cite because that is what he said in that case, being the author. But he chose Carter to try and indicate that the court was not making the switch but being consistent. Analysis: Labor strife in the steel industry has a gigantic ripple effect on interstate commerce because of the important place steel occupies in the modern world. Automobiles, residences, buildings, and even the very computer being used to write these words include steel. This, however, is just a consideration of the ﬁnished product, to say nothing of all the individual workers involved in making the steel, as well as those involved in producing
Commerce Power NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. (1937)
workers involved in making the steel, as well as those involved in producing the products that use steel. A disruption at the source, that is, at the point where steel is produced, or at any prior point in the chain of production, can therefore have a devastating effect upon interstate commerce. Because this is a national problem, it demands a national solution. In N.L.R.B. v. Friedman-Harry Marks Clothing Co., the Court upheld the application of the NLRA to even a relatively small clothing manufacturer that shipped clothing in interstate commerce. The Court noted that a strike in the New York clothing industry would have a severe effect on interstate commerce. This shows that an economic effect on interstate commerce, even if slight, gives Congress authority under the Commerce clause to regulate the activity.
Commerce Power US v. Darby (1941)
Facts: Darby, A Georgia lumber producer, challenged an indictment against him for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A Georgia lumber company violated federal minimum wage/maximum hour laws. Its defense is that the federal government overreached its Commerce Clause authority in setting the standards. Issue 1. 2. Can Congress prohibit the interstate shipment of lumber manufactured by employees whose wages do not meet the minimum standard? Does it have the power to prohibit employment of workmen engaged in production of interstate commercial goods at other than prescribed wages and hours?
Holding Congress has the authority, under the Commerce Clause, to exclude any article from interstate commerce, in judgment that they are injurious to the public health, morals or welfare. Reasoning Congress powers to regulate commerce extends to regulations that prohibit commerce. Citing Gibbons v Ogden. COngress is free to exclude form interstate commerce articles which may be injurious to public health , even though the state has not sought to regulate its use. SUch regulation is not forbidden just because the product ultimately is used within a state. Hammer v Dagenhart (Prohibition interstate commerce is limited to articles which in themselves are harmful) has long been abandoned. It is now and forever overruled Here, not of the relationship between state and federal governments, Congress can use any form necessary to the attainment of the permitted end, being enforcing labor law. The Tenth Amendment does not affect this decision. It is nothing more than a declaratory statesmen of the relationship between state and federal governments and nothing more than a statement to ally fears of a new national government exercising powers not granted. Analysis: Remember the Court’s ruling in Hammer v. Dagenhart, that Congress did not have the power, under the Commerce Clause, to prohibit child labor through a general ban on the shipment of its fruits. Was Hammer truly a ruling without support in prior and subsequent case law? In the Lottery Case the Court ruled that only those articles adjudged to be deleterious in and of themselves could be banned from interstate commerce. In Schechter Poultry (the Sick Chicken Case), the Court ruled that the commerce power did not extend past the initial sale once an article entered a state. In E.C. Knight the
Commerce Power US v. Darby (1941)
extend past the initial sale once an article entered a state. In E.C. Knight the Court ruled that Congress could not regulate manufacturing because it is a local concern. The holding in Carter v. Carter Coal is directly on point for Darby. The Court held therein that Congress could not set wages and working conditions for miners, yet, after Darby, it has power to do so. Justice Stone’s assertion thus seems somewhat disingenuous. The difference is in the Court’s newfound ability to swallow the government’s “race to the bottom” rationale. The result is that corporations have a harder time exploiting competition in attracting industry—which means jobs and a broader tax base—between states.
Commerce Power Wickard v. Filburn (1942)
THE SUPREME COURT SETS A NEW OUTER BOUNDARY OF THE FEDERAL COMMERCE POWER
Facts: Wickard (P) exceeded his allotted quota for wheat production, the excess amount to be used for his own consumption. He was ﬁned by the government and seeks to have the quota ruled unconstitutional. Issue: Does the Commerce clause include the regulation of those items not intended for distribution nationally Holding Congress may regulate all activities having a substantial effect on interstate commerce, even those that do not have a substantial effect individually but do when viewed in the aggregate. Reasoning Darby gave Congress power to regulate production of goods for commerce but the appellee here urges that since he is not selling but consuming the product, ti is beyond the reach of the legislature. Questions of power are not to be decided by reference to a formula or nomenclature such as production, but rather, whether it has an effect on the stream of commerce. They appellees own contribution of wheat may be negligible consumption but not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where combined with other consumers is hardly trivial. Unlimited production for consumption keeps the person out of the buying market and therefore effects commerce and would obstruct the purpose for which the Act was initiated. Analysis: It is clear after Wickard, if it wasn’t clear after Darby, that the Tenth Amendment is ineffective as a check on the federal commerce power. Wickard also set a new, broader standard for the exercise of the commerce power. How difﬁcult is it to come up with an intrastate activity that doesn’t, in some way, substantially affect interstate commerce when viewed in the national aggregate? As demonstrated in the 1960s civil rights cases, Congress has taken advantage of this vast broadening of its commerce authority. After Wickard, the only signiﬁcant checks on the commerce power were speciﬁc guarantees, such as those in the Bill of Rights.
Commerce Power Heart of Atlanta Motel v US
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS EXERTS A SUBSTANTIAL AND HARMFUL EFFECT UPON INTERSTATE COMMERCE Facts: An Atlanta, Georgia motel wishes to continue its racially discriminatory operations in spite of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Act) barring racial discrimination in public accommodations Issue : May Congress regulate local activities that can exert substantial inﬂuence on interstate commerce. Holding Yes Reasoning
Discrimination is rampant throughout the country and impairs negroes ability to travel, not knowing if they will ﬁnd accommodations. It is the same interest in protecting interstate commerce that lead to . . . (the Cite most of the previously discussed cases) It is said that the operation of the motel here is of purely local character. Even if this were true, if it is interstate commerce that feels the pinch, it does not matter how local the operation which applies the squeeze. Thus, Congress may regulate the local incidents of interstate commerce, including within the states of origin and destination, which might have a substantial and harmful effect upon that commerce.
The Court’s opinion in Heart of Atlanta is well reasoned, at least partially due to the testimony Congress took when considering the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Congress knew the bar it had to meet in order to make the legislation constitutional, just as it surely knew the speed with which the Act would be challenged. The Act’s constitutionality here ﬂows from the fact that an inability to rely on ﬁnding accommodations while traveling from state to state is a substantial obstruction to the undertaking of such travel. When a signiﬁcant percentage of the population is much less likely to travel interstate, even the purely economic ramiﬁcations are easy to recognize. People who travel spend money in local economies, without acting as a drain on public resources. A traveler is, therefore, someone who pays without also taking. Interestingly, had civil rights not been on justassassinated president John F. Kennedy’s legislative agenda, the Act may not have passed at all, but his successor, Lyndon Johnson, made a strong moral case for passing the agenda as a way of honoring JFK’s memory.