From the Denver Post, Commerce Clause is Infinitely Elastic by Ed Quillen.
He spends the first part of the column examining Wickard and commerce clause history trying to find how Raich and Monson’s activity of growing their own could reach the level of interstate commerce. And then…
But if you think about this, it becomes apparent that this affects a vital element of interstate commerce. You’re in pain, you grow some medicine and take it, then you go about your life.
And in that process, you do not buy anything from the immense pharmaceutical industry, which, in 1999-2000 spent more on lobbying and other political persuasion than any other industry: $262 million, with $177 million going to 625 lobbyists (more than one for every member of Congress), $65 million for ads and $20 million for campaign contributions.
Imagine the dire economic consequences for congressional campaigns if Americans quit feeding the pharmaceutical cash machine. And now that it’s totally empowered by the Supreme Court, our Congress can find new ways to ensure that we perform our economic duties.
While it may be legal now to generate your own electricity with a solar panel, Congress now has the power to outlaw that, since you might have otherwise bought the electricity from a mercury-spewing plant in Arizona.
Growing your own vegetables obviously affects the commerce of those agribusiness campaign contributors in California and Illinois. Compile your own computer’s operating system, and you’re affecting the interstate commerce of the Microsoft monopoly. Walking or bicycling to work instead of driving affects the income of multinational oil companies, and is thus a matter of interstate commerce. So is just about any other act of traditional American self-reliance.
And all too true.