Some view the Constitution’s Commerce Clause as granting to the Congress expansive powers of Federal control of intrastate activities, individual activities, and even the thoughts of private citizens. A supine Supreme Court has supported this view. Wickard v Filburn, for instance, agrees that Congress can regulate privately carried out agricultural activities, and NLRB v Jones & Laughlin extends that to manufacturing activity that occurs wholly within a state—an activity that prior to Jones & Laughlin was considered separate and distinct from any commerce-related process. With these rulings in mind, a Federal District judge, Gladys Kessler, has even held that this Commerce Clause control extends into the private thoughts of individual citizens (Mead v Holder).
The line of reasoning for this startling evolution can be summarized in Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes’ majority opinion in Jones & Laughlin: activities that are intrastate in character (which rather tautologically includes those individual activities) are regulable under the Commerce Clause when they bear a “close and substantial relation to interstate commerce.”
Agriculture is such an intrastate activity when the processes of field preparation, sewing, growing, and harvesting are considered separately, and separately from any subsequent process of bringing that harvest to market. Likewise, manufacturing is such an intrastate activity when the processes of gathering equipment and locally procured supplies, the assembly of those supplies into finished product, and their in-plant inspection are considered separately, and separately from any subsequent process of bringing those finished products to market. However, since Wickard and Jones & Laughlin hold such activities to bear a “close and substantial relation to interstate commerce,” it is reasonable to hold that any activity that impacts those processes of agriculture and manufacturing also bear a “close and substantial relation to interstate commerce.” Such activities here plainly include union strikes and boycotts.
Accordingly, I propose a simple, one-page bill (no 2,000+ pages for me) that bans union strikes and boycotts, citing the Commerce Clause as the constitutional authority for such a ban.
It would be interesting to hear the Commerce Clause objections to such a bill. What rationalizations might be offered?