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The Federal Government's Power through Application of the Commerce Clause - Research Paper Example

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The Federal Governments Power In The Application Of The Commerce Clause Name Instructor Task Date Abstract The United States constitution is the most fundamental law for the people of the United States. The constitution is the piece of legislation that lays down the functions of the government…
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The Federal Governments Power through Application of the Commerce Clause
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Download file to see previous pages The constitution however, does not provide an outright explanation for the term commerce. What then can be said to constitute commerce? Over the years commerce has been defined to mean the buying and selling of goods across states, this is known as interstate commerce and within states, which is known as intrastate commerce (Barnett, 2001). In Carter vs. Carter Coal Company1, the Supreme Court defined commerce as intercourse with the main reason of trade. Acts that fall within the concept of commerce are those acts that have a substantial effect to the exchange of goods within and across states. As seen under the commerce clause the federal government has the power to regulate commerce. What does it mean to regulate commerce? Regulating commerce according to Chief Justice Marshall regarding the case of Gibbons .v. Ogden2 means having the power to control the manner in which commerce is to be governed. Chief Justice Melville Fuller also gave a similar definition by stating regulation of commerce to mean the authority to prescribe the set of rules outlining the way the governing of commerce should take place. The federal government is formed out of a union between states and the sovereign power and this power is divided is therefore split between the national government and the various states (Bork & Troy, 2002). Discussion The original need for the commerce clause was mainly to discourage rivalry between those states that had a commercial advantage and those that did not have a commercial advantage. This difference in commercial advantage of states was brought due to the proximity to the harbor. Those states that were close to the harbor had a commercial advantage than those that were not. The commerce clause was initially meant to ensure that United States of America was a place where trade could take place freely without states having to bring up barriers against each other (Forte, 2011) therefore giving rise to rivalry. Originally, the term to regulate was interpreted as making something regular. This clause was intended to make all the states regular by promoting activities that would encourage free trade across and within states and also to oversee any interference in interstate commerce. Federal power was intended to operate activities that fell within the scope of commerce but the courts kept quiet even when the federal government continued to see the general extension of the commerce clause. A good example is the case of Kidd vs. Pearson3 the court recognized the broad powers of the congress under the commerce clause over the sale of good in interstate commerce. The commerce clause was dormant over the years until the courts started making decisions that differentiated commerce and production (Bork & Troy, 2002) as seen in the case of Carter vs. Carter Coal Company4 the Supreme Court defined commerce as the intercourse with the main purpose of trade. The turning point of courts decisions came in with the landmark case of US vs. Lopez5 the attempt of the federal government to regulate activities that are not commercial was struck down in a ruling. The court stated that the power of the congress under the commerce clause is limited to only commerce and the power to regulate the carrying of guns was not commercial ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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