Terry Jeffrey

"But if we assume that it is never marketed, it supplies a need of a man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market," said the court.

If people like Filburn were allowed to grow and consume their own wheat on their own land, Congress might be stifled in its effort to artificially inflate the price of the commodity.

Now, one reason the Founding Fathers decided to break with England was their dismay with England's mercantilist system, which generally required colonists to purchase manufactured goods from, or through, England rather than produce them in the colonies.

Hatred for this system inspired a Virginia farmer named George Washington to try to convert his colonial farm into a self-sufficient unit -- where, like Filburn on a much grander scale, he could produce and consume what he wanted without trading with others, especially those in England.

The Framers, who had not forgotten English mercantilism, wrote the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to create a free-trade zone among the American states. Their aim was to facilitate freedom, not restrict it.

Wickard v. Filburn was a step back toward the sort of government control of our lives the Founding Fathers wanted to deny to the new federal government they created. President Barack Obama's health care law goes a dramatic step beyond FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938.

If FDR and the Congress of that era usurped for the federal government the power to tell farmers that they could not grow wheat on their own land for their own consumption, Obama and the current Congress (many of whose members were defeated in the November election) are trying to usurp the power to tell all Americans that they must buy someone else's product -- in this case health insurance -- that they do not want to buy.

Hudson, while carefully staying within the Supreme Court precedent of Wickard v. Filburn, correctly understood that the issue raised by Obamacare's individual mandate -- the so-called "Minimum Essential Coverage Provision" -- is freedom itself.

"The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," Hudson wrote in his opinion. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance -- or crafting a scheme of universal insurance coverage -- it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

And you thought liberals believed in freedom of choice?


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

Be the first to read Terence Jeffrey's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.

©Creators Syndicate