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Early interpretation of the commerce clause - Essay Example

The commerce clause raises three major questions that can be satisfactorily answered by having a proper interpretation of the clause. These questions revolve around the meaning of “commerce", “among the several States” and “to regulate.” Interpretation here refers to the method of determining the meaning of the words included in the clause. At the time of its creation, the term commerce was used in the clause to mean trade or exchange of goods. It could also be expansively interpreted as any gainful activity. However, this excluded some gainful activities like manufacturing, agriculture and other methods of production. Barnett (2001) states that these exclusions were made because it was improper to have a congressional power that controlled agriculture with Indian Tribes and manufacturing with foreign nations. Under the constitution convention, it was agreed that the term commerce be used as a substitute for trade and exchange. Contextual analysis of the clause gives a strong support to a conclusion that the phrase “among several states” was initially used to refer to mean between persons of different states. However, this interpretation would render the term ‘among several states superfluous or excessive. According to Grant and Pushaw (1999), the reason for adding the term among several states ,and foreign nations, was to exclude some forms of commerce from the power of the congress.

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The commerce clause raises three major questions that can be satisfactorily answered by having a proper interpretation of the clause. These questions revolve around the meaning of “commerce", “among the several States” and “to regulate.” …
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