Like Jim Bowie and Davy Crocket who fell defending the Alamo, Roscoe Filburn became

an American hero on November 9, 1942 invoking the Constitution at the Supreme Court.

www.filburn.org


  The Filburn Prize

Awarded to a person whose actions to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution
have been particularly meritorious.

The Wickard Prize

Awarded to a person whose actions to
betray, damage and offend the Constitution
have been particularly egregious.

   The U.S. Constitution specifies that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."  So, the federal government has limited powers -- if they are not in the Constitution's list, Congress does not have them.  One of that limited number of powers delegated to the United States is the power "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes".  This is the "Interstate Commerce Clause."

   The 1942 U.S. Supreme Court case of Wickard v. Filburn held that a small farmer in Ohio could be penalized by the federal government for growing wheat for consumption on his farm.  Farmer Filburn was not engaged in commerce (he did not buy or sell the wheat), nor was he involved with other states (the wheat never left his farm), so farmer Filburn was not engaged in interstate commerce.  However, the court held that because growing wheat could have an indirect and insubstantial effect on interstate commerce the federal government had the power to regulate him, including telling him how much wheat he could grow.

   This court decision has not been overruled.  It means the federal government can (notwithstanding the clear Constitutional limits) regulate Americans without limit, citing the interstate commerce clause.  There is nothing that could not, in an indirect and minor way, affect interstate commerce.  Commerce in wheat could be affected by breaking bread at communion in church, refraining from eating bread because of a diabetes concern over glucose, an ethnic preference for eating rice, or just the exercise of consumer free will.

   Wickard v. Filburn is a decision that vitiates the constitutional design of a federal government with specified and limited powers and transforms it into a government whose power is unlimited.  This is not a minor matter.  A fundamental principle of society has been changed in a way that circumvents the legitimate amendment process. 

Click here to see the Supreme Court's opinion