Letters of Liberty
                                                                      Commerce Clause  

Unlike the General Welfare, the Commerce Clause is an enumerated power in Article I, section 8 of your Constitution.  It too has been grossly misused through the course of time, so we need to go back and understand its original intent.

During the debates in the summer of 1787, the delegates came to the conclusion that it would be wise to have a Commerce Clause.  As mentioned earlier, it was to REGULATE trade between states, Indian nations, and foreign nations.  This was prudent as they understood the implications of a lack of commerce not only to the citizens of the country, but the union as a whole.  Perhaps the greatest concern was trade between “land locked” states and neighboring states with an access to waterways.  Take Vermont as an example.  What if Massachusetts was to impose a duty tax for any goods Vermont needed to have shipped overseas?  A similar example could be made for goods Massachusetts received from abroad and then transported to Vermont.  Would this not lead to higher costs to the residents of Vermont when goods were being imported or exported across its borders?  This would lead to high tensions between states and perhaps start a trade war.  This is what the delegates feared with the original Articles of Confederation, so it was included as an enumerated power in your Constitution.

Yet to insure that trade barriers would not exist between states, they gave the Supreme Court leeway in its interpretation of the regulation of trade especially between the states of our union to keep trade REGULAR.  Unfortunately, it has been interpreted from the very beginning as more than a power to regulate commerce.  Now it is called the “elastic” clause because both our legislators and the Supreme Court have reinterpreted its original intent.

To demonstrate how far this clause has evolved, in 1942, a case was brought before the Supreme Court which decided that it was illegal for an individual to grow crops for his own consumption.  Rosco C. Filburn, a farmer in Ohio produced more crops than the government allocated and was fined.  Even though his crops did not cross state lines, the Supreme Court ruled the government has authority to decide how much an individual can grow.  Another farmer in Georgia suffered the same fate this summer.  Is it only limited to farmers?  Are they taking jobs from others by producing crops?  What if this same fate falls on other professions?  What if a couple decides to paint their house?  Would this not hinder commerce?  Should they not have hired professional painters?  Perhaps your wife is an excellent cook.  Does her act of preparing a simple meal obstruct commerce?  Could not a catering company prepare the meal for you?  Our Federal Government has now distorted the clause from REGULATE to PROMOTE commerce.

You can find many more examples, but my intent was to show the gravity of how far the Commerce Clause has evolved over time with the help of our legislative branch.  Unfortunately, when you combine the General Welfare and Commerce Clause, this exponentially increases the chances of our elected official willingly and knowingly violating your Constitution.  It was only months ago that one of our elected officials in the House of Representatives admitted on video camera that 95% of what they do is unconstitutional.  This proves that they know they pass legislation that violates your Constitution.

Now we should look at the men and women who are our elected officials and determine if they have strayed from
the original intent of your Constitution and why.