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Congressional Power to Regulate

    In United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100 (1941), the Court upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act, stating:

    “The power of Congress over interstate commerce is not confined to the regulation of commerce among the states. It extends to those activities intrastate which so affect interstate commerce or the exercise of the power of Congress over it as to make regulation of them appropriate means to the attainment of a legitimate end, the exercise of the granted power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.” Id., at 118.

    See also United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U.S. 110, 119 (1942) (the commerce power “extends to those intrastate activities which in a substantial way interfere with or obstruct the exercise of the granted power”).

    In Wickard v. Filburn, the Court upheld the application of amendments to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 to the production and consumption of homegrown wheat. 317 U.S., at 128-129. The Wickard Court explicitly rejected earlier distinctions between direct and indirect effects on interstate commerce, stating:

    “[E]ven if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’” Id., at 125.

    The Wickard Court emphasized that although Filburn’s own contribution to the demand for wheat may have been trivial by itself, that was not “enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where, as here, his contribution, taken together with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial.” Id., at 127-128.

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