The Interstate Commerce Clause:
How the Supreme Court Interpreted It Over
The Past 200 Years
Business Law 3321
08 March 2002
Interstate Commerce Clause:
How the Supreme Court Interpreted It Over the Past 200 Years
The Clean Water Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Endanger Species Act are all good legislative acts, but what gave Congress the Constitutional right to pass them? Would you believe the Commerce Clause? "The Congress shall have the power to ... regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States and with the Indian Tribes" (Burke). As important as those powers are, that is a stretch from what the "Framers" had mind. The States were to have majority of legislative power and the powers of the Federal Government, "were to be limited, not general" (Reynolds, 3).
"Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce among several States" (United art.1)
seems straightforward. If Company A in Columbus, Georgia is selling peaches to Customer B in Phenix City, Alabama, then the Federal Government has some say in how they do it. However, if Company A is also selling peaches to Store C across the street, the Federal Government has no say in how they do that. Now, suppose Company A is having financial problems and decides to fire a tenth of its employees, The employees and their lawyers think its unfair and complain to the Federal Government. Can the Federal Government intervene under the Commerce Clause, and prevent Company A from doing it? The answer should be, of course not. Selling to Customer B in Alabama is interstate commerce, firing employees within the state of Georgia is not commerce, its firing employees.
Well some Lawyers and special interest groups make an argument that, if the...