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Wickard v. Filburn

United States Supreme Court
317 U.S. 111 (1942)

Wickard v. Filburn

Facts

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic-controlled Congress passed many “New Deal” programs designed to improve the poor economic climate in the United States. One such program was the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which limited the area that farmers could devote to wheat production in an effort to stabilize the national price of wheat. Filburn (plaintiff), a small farmer, was penalized pursuant to the Act for producing wheat in excess of the Act's quotas. Filburn filed suit against Secretary of Agriculture Wickard (defendant), seeking to enjoin enforcement against himself of the penalties. Filburn argued that because the excess wheat was produced for his own private consumption and never entered the stream of commerce, his activities could not be regulated by Congress under the Commerce Clause. The district court agreed with Filburn that Congress’s regulations were unconstitutional, and the circuit court affirmed. Wickard appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jackson, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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