The Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence on Friday, September 3, urged the Supreme Court to review an important constitutional challenge to the recent expansion of the federal Endangered Species Act to cover wholly intrastate, non-commercial species. At issue in the case are a handful of microscopic cave bugs that dwell only in a few caves near Austin, Texas. A family who has sought to develop their own land, and which has already donated large portions of their land for cave bug research, brought the suit after trying to obtain permits for nearly 20 years.
The Institute's brief, which was authored by Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence Director John Eastman and joined by former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, urged the Court not only to take the case, but to repudiate the New Deal-era decision in Wickard v. Filburn that upheld the federal government's power to prosecute a farmer for growing more wheat on his own farm, for his own family's consumption, than was allowed by the socialist-style federal marketing orders. The Orwellian ruling held that the regulations were a valid exercise of Congress's power to regulate commerce among the states, despite the fact that the farmer's wheat never entered the commercial wheat market, because the farmer's actions made it possible for him not to engage in interstate commerce, and therefore had an effect on interstate commerce (particularly when Farmer Filburn's actions were aggregated with all the other nefarious farmers growing wheat for their own bread!). Eastman and Meese contend in their brief that the decision has allowed the federal government to exercise virtually unfettered power ever since.
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