Filburn is an Ohio farmer, sued Secretary of Agriculture
(Wickard) to stop enforcement of a penalty imposed under the
Agricultural Adjustment Act.
Filburn received a $117 penalty for harvesting 461 bushels and
his allotment was 222 bushels, which was over twice as much
wheat as allowed under his quota
Beyond The Commerce Power
Filburn asserted that the quota provisions of the Act were
beyond the commerce power.
The lower court issued an injunction.
Secretary of State appealed
- Act extends to consumption
The Act extends federal regulation to production intended solely
for consumption on the farm itself.
The quotas include not only
what can be sold,
but also what is to be
consumed on the farm.
Beyond reach of commerce power
Filburn contends that the Act regulates production and
consumption of wheat, which is beyond the reach of the commerce
These activities are local in character.
Their effect on interstate commerce is indirect at most.
Secretary of State Wickard Argues
Wickard contends that the statute regulates the marketing of the
Power of Congress does not use a formula
Questions of the power of Congress are not to be decided by
reference to a formula giving controlling force to designations
such as "production" and "indirect," rather than considering the
actual effects of the activity in question upon interstate
Indirect Activity still effects interstate Commerce
Even if Filburn's activity is local and may not be regarded as
commerce, it may be regulated by Congress if it exerts a
substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, regardless
of whether the effect is direct or indirect.
Acts Purpose Increase Market Price of Wheat
One of the primary purposes of the Act was to increase the
market price of wheat by limiting the volume on the market.
Home-Consumption Substantial Effect
Home-consumed wheat could have a substantial influence on price
and market conditions, since it could flow into the market as
the price increased, but then would serve to check the rising
Trivia By Itself, but Taken with Others
One person's contribution to the demand for wheat
may be trivial by itself
is not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation
where, the contribution,
taken together with that of many others similarly situated,
is far from trivial
The man who grew it would have no
need to look to the open market for his needs.
Homegrown wheat competes with wheat in commerce. Reversed.