The Rules: Post info about ONE Supreme Court decision, modern or historical your lj. (Any decision, as long as it’s not Roe v. Wade.) (via ursulav)
I choose Wickard v. Filburn, wherein the Commerce Clause of the constitution was interpreted so broadly as to give congress power to pass legislation on anything that could conceivably impact purchasing. Which turns out to be pretty much everything.
"Roscoe Filburn was a farmer who produced wheat in excess of the amount permitted [by the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938]. Filburn however, argued that because the excess wheat was produced for his private consumption on his own farm, it never entered commerce at all, much less interstate commerce, and therefore was not a proper subject of federal regulation under the Commerce Clause.
The Supreme Court rejected this argument, reasoning that if Filburn had not used home-grown wheat he would have had to buy wheat on the open market. This effect on interstate commerce, the Court reasoned, may not be substantial from the actions of Filburn alone but through the cumulative actions of thousands of other farmers just like Filburn its effect would certainly become substantial. Therefore Congress could regulate wholly intrastate, non-commercial activity if such activity, viewed in the aggregate, would have a substantial effect on interstate commerce, even if the individual effects are trivial."
Oh, by the way? In 2005 the Supreme Court relied heavily on the presidence set in Wickard v. Filburn to rule that personal, medical use of cannabis could be regulated by congress as "interstate commerce" in the Gonzalez v. Raich ruling.
(Woops, I broke the rules. That was two.)