With their usual amazing dexterity the US Supreme Court could ignore the elephant in the room in the case of Bond v. United States, or with uncommon courage they could wrestle it to the ground. In fact, with the current makeup of the court, that wrestling match might be the best chance for America to get back on track.
There has been an ongoing debate in America for the last 50 years regarding the proper scope of federal power versus the power of the people and the states. The source of that controversy is the 10th amendment, which very clearly says that ONLY the specific powers granted to Congress can be exercised by it, all other powers being reserved to the states or the people.
Aided by a very liberal interpretation of the Commerce Clause, Congress has invaded nearly every aspect of American life either directly or by way of its agencies and their rules. For decades litigants have tried to challenge federal laws as being outside the scope of enumerated Congressional authority.
I too have attempted to challenge the federal government’s prosecution of a defendant on the grounds that the complained of acts were traditionally within the exclusive power of the states to punish, and that the Commerce Clause had to be stretched beyond the breaking point in order to justify federalizing that crime.
In most of these cases the trial courts have declared that the individual has no standing to make such a challenge. In the Bond vs. United States Case, that is the threshold issue, and this week the US Supreme Court has accepted certiorari.
Might the court come down on the side of “no standing”? Maybe, and if they do they will have once again deftly side-stepped the larger issue. Might they limit their decision to say “yes you have standing” but avoid the greater issue of whether Congress has overstepped its bounds? That too might be expected.
But might they finally tackle the bigger issue and reverse a dangerous course set nearly 70 years ago in the Wicard v. Filburn case, where the court ruled that Congress had the power to regulate a farmer’s home grown wheat crop, used to feed only his own chickens, as the proper interpretation of their authority under the Commerce Clause? Let’s hope so, and let’s hope and pray that they end the nonsense of virtually unlimited, unchecked federal power.
There would be no need to talk about cutting spending, cutting taxes or solving our financial problems by way of Congressional action. Once the court declares the size of the federal government to be unconstitutional, the savings from the systematic disbanding of the huge federal bureaucracy would let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.