Commerce Clause

    Article 1.8.3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

The “Commerce Clause” is, by far, the one most frequently used by Congress and the courts to extend the tentacles of the
federal government illegally into virtually every element of the U.S. economy.  The original purpose of the clause was to
insure free trade between the states.  Prior to the Constitution, many states engaged in “protectionism”, placing tariffs on
goods imported from other states and otherwise hindering the free flow of commerce between states.

For the first hundred years, from 1787 to 1887 the interstate commerce clause was understood to apply only to the buying
and selling of goods between individuals and businesses in one state and those in another. It was not until passage of the
Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 that Congress began to involve itself in the
intrastate commerce of the various states.  According to the structure of the Commerce Clause, Congress has no more
authority to dictate economic policy within the boundaries of a state than it does the domestic economic policy of foreign

“Commerce“, as used in the Constitution and by contemporary writers of the time, had reference only to “trade” or
“exchange of goods” and certainly did not apply to the design of products, the processes of manufacturing or the providing
of services, as it is often used today.

Prior to the election of 1936, the Supreme Court routinely declared New Deal legislation based on the “Commerce Clause,”
and passed during Roosevelt’s first term in office, unconstitutional.  In 1937, by threatening to “pack” the court with more
“progressive thinking” Justices, Roosevelt succeeded in intimidating the court to look more favorably on his progressive
legislation.  Since that time, the federal government has expanded its power to the point where it is today.

“Commerce” is one of the most frequently corrupted words in the Constitution and the one whose meaning is stretched more
than any other. By making the word synonymous with the word “business” and ignoring the words “among the states”,
Congress and the courts have expanded government powers into virtually every segment of the economy, and through the
economy, into every nook and cranny of our daily lives.

The original meaning of the word “commerce” during the time of the Founders simply meant “trade”; the buying, selling and
transporting of tangible products in exchange for money or other goods.  In our research, we looked at dozens of dictionary
and encyclopedia definitions of the word.  In each case, the definition was always substantially the same as the one at
Investor Words. Com,
“The buying and selling of products and services between firms, usually in different states or

The early American meaning did not include services, however.  An article in the 2001 winter edition of the University of
Chicago Law Review, by Randy Barnett concerning the original meaning of the Commerce Clause says this;

    “The most persuasive evidence of original meaning —statements made during the drafting and ratification of the
    Constitution as well as dictionary definitions and the Federalist Papers —strongly supports, Justice Thomas’s and the
    Progressive Era Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of Congress’s power “to regulate commerce… among the
    several states”… “that is, to specify how an activity may be transacted, when applied to domestic commerce”…

    “Congress has power to specify rules to govern the manner by which people may exchange or trade goods from one
    state to another, to remove obstructions to domestic trade erected by states”…

Jon Roland, founder of the Constitution Society and a Constitutional scholar in his own right, made an extensive study of the
subject and published his conclusion on the Constitution Society’s website.

    “My research of instances of use finds only that ‘commerce among the states’ meant ‘transfer for a valuable
    consideration of ownership and possession of a tangible commodity from a vendor in one state to a customer in
    another’.  In other words, it would not, for example, include a sale from someone in Lower Michigan to someone in
    Upper Michigan that happened to be delivered via Illinois.  I have also found as objects of such regulation
    aggregation only up to the level of single shipments of multiple units, not some ‘stream’ that might include non-
    qualifying objects”.

    “As originally understood, interstate ‘commerce’ did not include primary production, such as farming, hunting,
    fishing or mining.  It did not include services, securities, or communication.  Nor did it include manufacturing,
    transport, retail sales, possession, use, or disposal of anything.  It did not include anything that might have a
    ‘substantial effect’ on commerce, or the operations of parties not directly related to the actual transfers of ownership
    and possession”.

The most preposterous extension of the commerce clause until recently was perhaps a ruling involving an Ohio farmer
named Filburn, who was charged and convicted of violating a Department of Agriculture directive setting quotas on the
production of wheat.  The farmer harvested almost 12 acres of wheat above his allotted quota.  His explanation was that he
grew the wheat for his own use on his own farm for feeding livestock, etc., and it was not intended for sale on the market.
Justice Robert H. Jackson writing for the majority in Wickard v. Filburn, 1942, wrote,
“it may still, whatever its nature, be
reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, and this irrespective of whether such
effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’

Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives must have had this case in mind when they wrote the health care bill.  She and her
colleagues, in drafting the health care bill claimed the constitutional right to mandate the purchase of insurance by individuals
under the commerce clause because not buying insurance effects commerce.

The sole purpose of the commerce clause was to guarantee free and fair trade between citizens and businesses in the various
states.  Until it is restored to its original meaning and purpose, it will be difficult if not impossible to reestablish America as a
constitutional republic as created by the compromise between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

    Article 1.8.4: To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies
    throughout the United States;

Early immigration and naturalization laws were based on the belief that “the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right
of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  In 1924, legislation
was passed imposing quotas on immigration from various countries in an effort to preserve the cultural makeup of America.  
Quotas generally favored immigrants from European countries. The law was repealed in 1965.

The general problems with current naturalization and immigration laws have to do with the progressives abandonment of the
goal of assimilation and the massive number of immigrants entering the country illegally, overwhelming our social
infrastructure. Attempts to encourage assimilation have been replaced in favor of multiculturalism, bilingual education and
multilingualism in official government documents and communications, leading to the “balkanization” of the American culture.

This establishment of permanent sub-cultures within the broader American culture seems to be a deliberate attempt on the
part of progressives to establish a permanent dependent class of unassimilated, uninformed citizens, easily manipulated as a
voting base. Fearful of exposure and deportation they become easy prey for the demagogue and the charlatan. The “language
gap” makes for effective, targeted propaganda not easily recognized by the English-speaking majority. Established borders are
a necessary ingredient in national sovereignty. Failure to enforce immigration law for political gain is perhaps the ultimate in
political cynicism.
E-mail address
Philosophy of
Socialism in America

"The struggle of History is not
between the bourgeoisie and the
proletariat; it is between government
and the governed."

Jerry McDaniel
Purchase a book for your
library or as a gift
Philosophy of Evil
Socialism In America
By Jerry McDaniel
Chapter 18
Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 3-18
The Illinois Conservative