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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Commerce Clause

HW due today: Read 345-357 and take the reading quiz.

Essential Questions for the Day
  • What powers are given to Congress by the Commerce Clause? 
  • How have the decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting that Clause operated to both expand and restrict Congressional authority over time?

Key Constitutional Provisions:

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3

The Congress shall have the power …
…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes…

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18
…to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Activity: Can Congress Make This Law?

1. Recently, a freight train crashed when it entered Kansasippi, because the train operator didn’t recognize Kansasippi’s unique warning signal. Congress wants to pass a law that requires all states to use uniform warning signs and signals for trains.

2. Congress wants to pass a law that bans employment of children under the age of 18 in factories which make products that are sold in other states.

3. Tomato prices have been plummeting and tomato farmers aren’t making enough money to keep planting their crops. In order to limit the overall tomato crop, thereby raising tomato prices, Congress wants to pass a law that prohibits all U.S. farmers that sell vegetables from growing more than 500 pounds of tomatoes each – even for their own consumption.

4. Lawmakers are dismayed by the number of shootings that take place in schools. Congress wants to pass a law that makes it a federal crime to possess a gun on the property of a public school.
5. Congress wants to pass a law setting a national maximum speed limit at 55 mph.

6. Congress passes a law that requires all citizens to purchase health insurance, otherwise they will be fined.

Important Court Cases

  • Gibbons v. Ogden
  • Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US
  • US v. Lopez
  • Gonzales v. Raich
  • NFIB v. Sebelius

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