Wickard v. Filburn, Foundation for Oppression

Alan P. Halbert
March 18, 2014

The Supreme Court in 1942 ruled the economic interest of the individual could be subjugated by restricting their use of personal property by an Act of Congress.Filburn

Wickard v. Filburn was decided on the basis that Roscoe Filburn had planted approximately 12 more acres of wheat than the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 allowed.  He was levied a penalty of $.49 for every bushel over the limit, and fined $117.11 for 239 bushels of excess wheat he produced.

 This Act of Congress sought to inflate the cost of wheat from approximately $.40 a bushel to $1.16 by limiting production. This was just one of 15 legislative initiatives that Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to intervene in the Nations economy during the Great Depression with his “New Deal” policies during his first 100 days in office.  The initial passing of this Act in 1933 was found unconstitutional in 1936, after the deficiencies were addressed this Bill passed again in 1938 and was signed into law; an amendment in 1941 raised the penalty to $.49 per bushel. 


Claude R. Wickard


 Mr. Filburn objected to the penalty levied on him by the Secretary of Agriculture since he would use all of the excess production from his crop for, future planting, feeding poultry and livestock for his own consumption.  Many people thought he was hoarding food, which was unpatriotic since it undermined the Nations war effort?  Many thought Mr. Wickard was persecuting Mr. Filburn for production of food products, which were not controlled by the War Foods Administration.

Several lower courts agreed with Mr. Filburn, and ruled in his favor.  These courts held the legitimate purpose for providing for his own needs, from his own labors, with his own land was proper.  As the quota referred to in the Act required an affirmative vote of farmers by plebiscite before implementation.  The Secretary of Agriculture disagreed and appealed these rulings to the Supreme Court. 

Roosevelt appointed eight of the nine “New Deal” Justices that heard this case, which dismissed the individual’s right of self-determination by a unanimous decision of the Court.  This case was the first instance where Congress could regulate non-commercial or intrastate commerce by an affirmative ruling from the Supreme Court.  This Court claimed that Mr. Filburn by using the fruit of his own labor; no matter how inconsequential kept him from purchasing wheat on the open market, thereby affecting interstate commerce.   The Commerce Clause, Article 1 Sec. 8 of our Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce between the States.

Writing for the Court is Justice Jackson’s opinion:

“Whether or not the activity was intrastate or interstate in character would no longer be a material factor in deciding commerce clause cases” 

Where the Supreme Court erred is in their definition of interstate commerce, which they believed took precedence over the fourth, fifth, tenth and fourteenth Amendments regarding the right of the individual to their personal property.  Our Constitution forbids confiscating or official disposition of personal property without due process of law.  Prior to this case the Supreme Court almost exclusively held the individual’s right(s) supreme; this case reversed this holding by making citizens subservient to the disposition of Congress as collective powers to be exercised. 

V-GardenWe can only hope that these men, caught up in the patriotic fervor of the time as our nation faced an uncertain future after being thrown into WWII by an infamous act of aggression on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor!  Our victory was no means assured in November of 1942 when they made this grave error against the individual’s right to freedom and liberty.  The stigma of losing his case profoundly affected Mr. Filburn, causing him to petition a court to change his name to Filbrun.  As the travesty of justice, given by his government and sought refuge in anonymity though his legacy continues through the Filburn Foundation.

Coincidentally, the burgeoning of our Federal Government to its current size was a direct consequence of this action by the Supreme Court.

 The legacy of Wickard subjugates citizens to regulation by Congress for practically any matter!  In 2005, the Supreme Court again reinforced this congressional perspective in Gonzales v. Raich in a medical marijuana case from California on where and when Congress could regulate intrastate commerce, as commerce between the States.  Justice Thomas dissenting opinion is prophetic; O‘Connor’s is encouraging since she recognizes the States right to experiment as a laboratory for change.

Liberty is hardly ever lost in a Constitutional Republic in one fell swoop; it usually comes by the incessant plodding of a determined legislature and leader(s) willing to subvert the will of the people slowly through legislation, making change inevitable.  This is accomplished by a process that occurs with gradual steps, though becomes insidious after all the facts are revealed.

The citizens of Germany were not aware of the actions taken by their legislative leaders on March 23, 1933 when they passed the Enabling Act.  Signed into law by President Hindenburg that same day, and delivered the German People into a dictatorship led by Hitler.  In an uncanny twist of fate, Obama Care was signed into law on March 23 as well by President Obama! 

The subversion of the German Republic occurred through a trusting and naïve population, lulled to complacency by the siren song of prosperity and security, to a nation dulled by the realities of economic hardship.  With messaging delivered by a charismatic leader with mesmerizing oratory skill as well, are we experiencing today the same siren song with Obama, and his assault on our Constitutional Republic that the German People experienced?    

The world today is much different than it was in 1942 with unrestricted open warfare on a global scale; requiring different solutions for issues that citizens would reject in times of peace.  The Roberts Court rewarded Obama and his duplicitous supporters and legislators with a similar destruction of our Freedom and Liberty as the Germans in 1933 we are living the nightmare of this travesty of justice playing out from the ghosts of WWII.

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