by Dr. Harold Pease

The nature of all governments is to grow, absorbing decision-making power unto themselves. It happened with the British Parliament and it is now happening with our imperial Congress. The reason the Enumeration Clause is one sentence of 18 paragraphs is that the Founders did not want a piece to be separated and enlarged distorting the whole. So it is with the Commerce Clause.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said it best:

“Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution—try to discern as best we can what the framers intended, or make it up.” On making it up he added: “No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores.”(Wall Street Journal Opinion, Oct. 20, 2008)

Under the original interpretation, commerce among the several states did not begin until goods commenced their final movement from their state of origin to that of their destination. Through faulty interpretation, gradually this grant was applied to commerce that did not even cross state boundaries.

In the 1942 case, Wickard v Fillburn, commerce was applied to a farmer who did not even move his wheat off his farm or even sell it, under the logic that consuming his own wheat affected interstate commerce. Had he not grown it he would have had to purchase wheat, which would have affected the price thereof. This distortion created a precedent that flawed every other Supreme Court decision with regard to commerce since then – and reversed the Founders’ definition by 180 degrees.

Recently, in response to the Court overruling California’s state law legalizing medical marijuana, the honorable Justice Clarence Thomas wrote:

“If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption…then Congress’ Article I powers…have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”

So why won’t even this flawed reasoning work for National Healthcare as those Constitutionally-ignorant insist? Because this would be the first time a penalty is imposed upon an individual for not engaging in commerce. Even the Congressional Budget Office penned in 1994 when National Healthcare was last proposed, “The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”

If the government can force this “commerce” – it can force any commerce, say electric cars or even the purchase of tomatoes.

reclaiming-american-revolutionSuch a broad interpretation of the commerce clause virtually destroys the 10th amendment to the Constitution. With power hungry governments, each flaw legitimizes yet a more serious one, destroying federalism and our ability to ever get our freedom back. If national healthcare is allowed to stand it will be the one decision wherein future generations can specifically date the end of not just health freedom…but all freedom.

The word “commerce” has wrongly been interpreted by the Supreme Court to cover “every species of movement of persons or things, whether for profit or not; every species of communications, every species of transmission of intelligence, whether for commercial purposes or otherwise.” Put simply, every person that moves.

No government can be trusted with that kind of power.

Dr. Harold Pease has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College in California. To read more of his articles, please visit

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