As the New York Times reported yesterday:
If the Obama administration persuades the Supreme Court to uphold its health care overhaul law, it will be in large part thanks to a 70-year-old precedent involving an Ohio farmer named Roscoe C. Filburn.
Mr. Filburn sued to overturn a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow on his family farm and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel.
The 1942 decision against him, Wickard v. Filburn, is the basis for the Supreme Court’s modern understanding of the scope of federal power.Dean Jim Chen, our own blogger colleague and creator of Ag Law for his historical account of the decision. Jim published an article, The Story of Wickard v. Filburn: Agriculture, Aggregation, and Commerce in 2008.
The NYT notes that while many seem to assume "that Mr. Filburn was a subsistence farmer. . . in fact he sold milk and eggs to some 75 customers a day, and the wheat he fed to his livestock entered the stream of commerce in that sense," referencing Jim's article.
Just another tribute to the importance of agricultural law.