“For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State, (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes.”"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."
The idea that the commerce clause can be used as a catch all that will allow Congress total control over our lives will be challenged next year in what is arguably the most important Supreme Court decision since the founding of the Republic. Is this hyperbole? I don’t think so and apparently at least one congressman doesn’t either.
Here you see Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-Calif.) at a now infamous town hall meeting being asked about slavery and constitutional limits to congress.
“I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life.”
The questioner then outlined those very parts of the Constitution that were meant to place limits on the federal government. She then asks:
“So my question is, how can this law be constitutional? But more importantly than that, if they can do this, what can’t they?”
His answer to we the people?
“The federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country.”
Hopefully everyone saw that clip but I replay it here because it is the foundation of Obama's and most leftists beliefs. The government is all powerful and the people need to just let our betters tell us how to live. For our own good, for the children. The idea that if the government can mandate we buy health care then they can tell us to buy anything, a Chevy Volt or broccoli or whatever, was recently admitted in court. In writing for the majority confirming the constitutionality of the Obamacare mandate Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals flatly stated that he can’t find any limit to congressional power: (emphasis mine)
This is no dumb congress critter saying this. Hope you all like broccoli.“We acknowledge some discomfort with the government’s failure to advance any clear doctrinal principles limiting congressional mandates that any American purchase any product or service in interstate commerce. But to tell the truth, those limits are not apparent to us, either because the power to require the entry into commerce is symmetrical with the power to prohibit or condition commercial behavior, or because we have not yet perceived a qualitative limitation.”