Fogz Glass Rainbow SherlockAs you learned in Part 2, New Deal legislation, backed by a timid Supreme Court, overthrew states’ ability to regulate their own intrastate commerce. Consequently, states' laws that legalize the use, production and distribution of marijuana and regulate the commercial activity of the product within the boundaries of those states are preempted by federal laws such that the Department of Justice can penalize the state and its citizens as it sees fit.

Taking this abuse of the Commerce Clause a step further, Congress decided to take away individuals’ liberty to regulate their own affairs and their private enterprises on their own land. Under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, Congress set national quotes for wheat to drive up wheat prices and stabilize market price fluctuations during the Depression. The law established limitations on wheat production based on acreage owned by a farmer. In enforcement of the law, authorities ordered Roscoe Filburn, an Ohio farmer, to destroy some of his crops and to pay a fine for planting and harvesting 23 acres of wheat instead of his allotted 11.1 acres. Roscoe refused to comply with this order as the wheat was strictly for consumption on the farm and would never enter intrastate or interstate commerce and brought suit against the federal government. The Federal District Court agreed with Roscoe and scolded the Secretary of Agriculture. In what is arguably one of the most tragic cases in Supreme Court history, Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), the Supreme Court overturned the District Court and upheld Congress’ ability to restrict the liberty of individuals on their own land in the name of the Commerce Clause. The Supreme Court reasoned that Roscoe’s personal production of wheat reduced the amount of wheat he would buy for himself and for chicken feed on the market and that because wheat was a nationally traded commodity, Roscoe’s production of wheat affected interstate commerce. While Roscoe’s production would have only a minimal effect on interstate commerce, the Justices believed that the aggregate of such local production could potentially be large enough to impact price stabilization efforts in the national market.

This ruling destroyed an individuals’ right to engage in strictly private enterprise. As a citizen of America, you're right to self sufficiency has been STOLEN from you. While you may be afforded the right to keep the property you have (subject, of course, to the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment), you have lost the right to use it how you choose. I don't know about you, but I never thought that buying property within the United States was signing on to a federal homeowner's association. The taking of our freedom to engage in self enterprise, self sufficiency, and self expression on our own land is quite easily one of the most disturbing precedents of the 20th century.

It was not until United States v. Lopez, another extreme and egregious abuse of the Commerce Clause discussed in Part 4, did the Supreme Court step in to limit Congress’ power.