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Encyclopedia > Commerce Clause

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, states that Congress has the exclusive authority to manage trade activities between the states and with foreign nations and Indian tribes. Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas as a separate power granted to Congress. It is common to see the Commerce Clause referred to as "the Foreign Commerce Clause", "the Interstate Commerce Clause", and "the Indian Commerce Clause", each of which refers to the same single sentence in the constitution that covers all three. Wikisource has original text related to this article: The United States Constitution The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ...

Contents

Text

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:

The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

Significance

The use of the Commerce Clause by Congress to justify its legislative power has been the subject of long, intense political controversy. Interpretation of the sixteen words of the Commerce Clause has helped define the balance of power between the federal government and the states. As such, it has a direct impact on the lives of US citizens.


The Tenth Amendment states that the federal government of the United States has only the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. Other powers are reserved to the states, or to the people. The Commerce Clause is an important source of those powers delegated to Congress, and therefore its interpretation is very important in determining the scope of federal power in controlling innumerable aspects of American life. For Ireland, see Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland. ...


History

The founders' understanding of the word "commerce" is unclear. Although commerce means economic activity today, it had non-economic meanings in late eighteenth century English. For example, in 18th century writing one finds expressions such as "the free and easy commerce of social life" and "our Lord's commerce with his disciples".[1] Interpreting interstate commerce to mean "substantial interstate human relations" is consistent with much additional primary source evidence concerning the meaning of commerce at the time of the writing of the Constitution.[1][2] This interpretation also makes sense for the foreign and Indian commerce clauses as one would expect Congress to be given authority to regulate non-economic relations with other nations and with Indian tribes.


Early years 1824-1935

In Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the power to regulate interstate commerce also included the power to regulate interstate navigation: "Commerce, undoubtedly is traffic, but it is something more—it is intercourse ... [A] power to regulate navigation is as expressly granted, as if that term had been added to the word 'commerce' ... [T]he power of Congress does not stop at the jurisdictional lines of the several states. It would be a very useless power if it could not pass those lines." Holding Judgment of the New York courts was reversed. ... 1824 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. ...


In Swift v. United States (1905), the Court ruled that the clause covered meatpackers; although their activity was geographically "local," they had an important effect on the "current of commerce" and thus could be regulated under the Commerce Clause. The Court's decision halted price fixing. Stafford v. Wallace (1922) upheld a federal law (the Packers and Stockyards Act) regulating the Chicago meatpacking industry, because the industry was part of the interstate commerce of beef from ranchers to dinner tables. The stockyards "are but a throat through which the current [of commerce] flows," Chief Justice Taft wrote, referring to the stockyards as "great national public utilities." 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, 7 U.S.C. §§ 181-229b, was enacted following the release in 1919 of the Report of the Federal Trade Commission on the Meat Packing Industry. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... For other persons named William Howard Taft, see William Howard Taft (disambiguation). ...


In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), the Supreme Court addressed the question: "Is the Cherokee nation a foreign state in the sense in which that term is used in the constitution?" The Court provided a definition of Indian tribe that clearly made the rights of Tribes far inferior to those of Foreign States.:In part the court said: Cherokee Nation v. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


"Though the Indians are acknowledged to have an unquestionable, and, heretofore, unquestioned right to the lands they occupy, until that right shall be extinguished by a voluntary cession to our government; yet it may well be doubted whether those tribes which reside within the acknowledged boundaries of the United States can, with strict accuracy, be denominated foreign nations. They may, more correctly be denominated domestic dependent nations. They occupy a territory to which we assert a title independent of their will, which must take effect in point of possession when their right of possession ceases. Meanwhile, they are in a state of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian."


New Deal

The clause was the subject of conflict between the U.S. Supreme Court and the Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935-37 when the Court struck down several of the President's "New Deal" measures on the grounds that they were not authorized by the powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. After winning the 1936 election, FDR proposed a plan to appoint an additional justice for each sitting Justice over 70. Given the age of the current justices this permitted a court population of up to 15. Roosevelt claimed that this was not to change the rulings of the Court, but to lessen the load on the older Justices, who he claimed were slowing the Court down. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially referred to by the... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States, the longest-serving holder of the office and the only man to be elected President more than twice, was one of the central figures of 20th century history. ... The New Deal was the title President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to the series of programs he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of providing relief, recovery, and reform (3 Rs) to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ...


There was widespread opposition to this "court packing" plan, but in the end the New Deal did not need it to succeed. In what became known as "the switch in time that saved nine," Justice Owen Josephus Roberts and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes switched sides in 1937 and, in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, upheld the National Labor Relations Act, which gave the National Labor Relations Board extensive power over unions across the country. Court packing is the name given to President Franklin Delano Roosevelts plan to create a judiciary more favorable to his New Deal policies. ... “The switch in time that saved nine” was the name given by the press to the apparent sudden shift by Justice Owen J. Roberts from the conservative wing of the Supreme Court (represented by the Four Horsemen) to the liberal wing (represented by Three Musketeers) in the case West Coast... Owen Josephus Roberts (May 2, 1875 – May 17, 1955) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court for fifteen years. ... Charles Evans Hughes (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was Governor of New York, United States Secretary of State, Associate Justice and Chief Justice of the United States. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Holding Congress had the power, under the Commerce Clause, to regulate labor relations. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent agency of the United States Government charged with conducting elections for union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. ...


In 1941 the Court upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated the production of goods shipped across state lines. In Wickard v. Filburn, (1942) the Court upheld the Agricultural Adjustment Act, stating that the act of growing wheat on one's own land, for one's own consumption, affected interstate commerce, and therefore under the Commerce Clause was subject to federal regulation. For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA, ch. ... Holding Production quotas under the Agricultural Adjustment Act were constitutionally applied to agricultural production that was consumed purely intrastate, because its effect upon interstate commerce placed it within the power of Congress to regulate under the Commerce Clause. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Agricultural Adjustment Act (or AAA) (Public law 73-10 of May 12, 1933) restricted production during the New Deal by paying farmers to reduce crop area. ...


This change in the Court's decisions, essentially no longer opposing the expansion of federal power into areas previously prohibited by prior Court jurisprudence, is often referred to as the Constitutional Revolution of 1937.[2] This expansion continued largely unabated until United States v. Lopez (1995). Holding Possession of a gun near a school is not an economic activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. ...


Civil rights

The wide interpretation of the scope of the commerce clause continued following the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aimed to prevent business from discriminating against black customers. In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), the Court ruled that Congress could regulate a business that served mostly interstate travelers; in Katzenbach v. McClung (1964) the Court ruled that the federal government could regulate Ollie's Barbecue, which served mostly local clientele but sold food that had previously moved across state lines; and in Daniel v. Paul (1969), the Court ruled that the federal government could regulate a recreational facility because three out of the four items sold at its snack bar were purchased from outside the state. President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ... Holding Congress did not unconstitutionally exceed its powers under the Commerce Clause by enacting Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in public accommodations. ... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... Also: 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ...


The Rehnquist Court

In 1995, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court in United States v. Lopez (later clarified by United States v. Morrison). There, the Court ruled that Congress had the power to regulate only William H. Rehnquist has served as the Chief Justice of the United States since 1986. ... Holding Possession of a gun near a school is not an economic activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. ... Holding The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981, is unconstitutional as exceeding congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. ...

  • the channels of commerce,
  • the instrumentalities of commerce, and
  • action that substantially affects interstate commerce

Thus the federal government did not have the power to regulate relatively unrelated things such as the possession of firearms near schools, as in the Lopez case. This was the first time in 60 years, since the conflict with President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936-37, that the Court had overturned a putative regulation on interstate commerce because it exceeded Congress's commerce power. Justice Clarence Thomas, in a separate concurring opinion, argued that allowing Congress to regulate intrastate, noncommercial activity under the Commerce Clause would confer on Congress a general “police power” over the Nation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States, the longest-serving holder of the office and the only man to be elected President more than twice, was one of the central figures of 20th century history. ... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ...


The Court found in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996) that, unlike the Fourteenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause does not give the federal government the power to abrogate the sovereign immunity of the states. Holding Congress does not have the power pursuant to the Commerce Clause to abrogate the sovereign immunity afforded to states under the 11th Amendment; the doctrine of Ex parte Young, which allows parties to seek relief against state officials for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States... // The United States Reports, the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... Amendment XIV in the National Archives The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Amendment XIV) is one of the post-Civil War amendments (known as the Reconstruction Amendments), first intended to secure rights for former slaves. ... The abrogation doctrine is a doctrine in United States constitutional law which permits the U.S. Congress to allow lawsuits seeking monetary damages against individual U.S. states, so long as this is usually done pursuant to a constitutional limitation on the power of the states. ... Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ...


Many described the Rehnquist Court's commerce clause cases as a doctrine of "new federalism". The outer limits of that doctrine were delineated by Gonzales v. Raich (2005), in which Justices Scalia and Kennedy departed from their previous positions as parts of the Lopez and Morrison majorities to uphold a federal law regarding marijuana. The court found the federal law valid, although the marijuana in question had been grown and consumed within a single state, and had never entered interstate commerce. Holding Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936[1]) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... This article is about the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. ... A Cannabis sativa plant The drug cannabis, also called marijuana, is produced from parts of the cannabis plant, primarily the cured flowers and gathered trichomes of the female plant. ...


See also

The Constitution in Exile is a controversial term that refers to provisions of the United States Constitution whose interpretation by the Supreme Court have changed since roughly the 1930s, and which have not been strictly enforced, such as the interstate commerce clause. ... The Dormant Commerce Clause is a phrase that originated with a comment made by Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of Willson v. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... States rights refers to the idea, in U.S. politics and constitutional law, that U.S. states possess certain rights and political powers in relation to the federal government. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Dormant Commerce Clause - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1202 words)
The Dormant Commerce Clause is a United States legal doctrine, created by the U.S. Supreme Court, that limits the power of states to legislate in connection with interstate commerce.
The premise is that the U.S. Constitution reserves for Congress the power to "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes" (Article I, § 8); therefore, individual states are limited in their ability to in the areas of international, interstate, or American Indian commerce.
The Dormant Commerce Clause does not expressly exist in the text of the United States Constitution.
Commerce Clause - definition of Commerce Clause in Encyclopedia (703 words)
Some have argued that the clause should be interpreted broadly to include a wide range of activities as related to commerce and the Supreme Court has often agreed with this interpretation.
United States (1905), the Court ruled that the clause covered meatpackers; although their activity was geographically "local", they had an important effect on the "current of commerce" and thus could be regulated under the commerce curve.
The clause was the subject of conflict between the U.S. Supreme Court and the Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935-37 when the Court struck down several of the President's "New Deal" measures on the grounds that they encroached upon intrastate matters.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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