Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) pressed U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on the limits of the federal government’s power under the commerce clause during her confirmation hearing today. He referenced a fictitious law mandating that citizens eat three vegetables a day. She said that it was a senseless law, but that Courts shouldn’t judge the constitutionality of a law on whether it makes sense.
This should have been a slam dunk question, of course the federal government shouldn’t be able to make a law telling us what to eat. There is plenty of senseless government regulation passed under the guise of the commerce clause.
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution states:
The Congress shall have Power… To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
There is nothing in this clause, or in the Constitution as a whole, that gives the federal government any authority to mandate vegetable eating, involvement with education, or for that matter health care – especially telling people they have to have health insurance.
You can watch the exchange below:
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