As our oil-and-gas trial prepares to drill into day eight, Blawgletter pauses to reflect on events outside DeRidder, Louisiana, the charming and friendly seat of Beauregard Parish.
The news that most caught our eye involves the case that took our breath away in law school more than any other — Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942).
Today, a panel of the D.C. Circuit voted 2-1 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act against a constitutional attack, one that argued that the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution could not and did not empower the federal government to fine citizens for not doing something (in this case, buying health insurance).
The majority relied a lot on Wickard, which concerned a wheat farmer who contested a New Deal era law that forbade him from growing wheat — even if he didn't sell any of it and instead consumed it all right there on his very own farm. The ruling took our breath away because it seemed to leave almost nothing outside the power of Congress to legislate on.
We invite you to read the opinion, which bears the firm imprint of its clever author, Senior Circuit Judge Silberman. Seven-Sky v. Holder, No. 11-5047 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 8, 2011).