Page:United States Reports, Volume 545.djvu/106

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58
GONZALES v. RAICH

Thomas, J., dissenting

ulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

I

Respondents’ local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce . . . among the several States.” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 3. By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power. The majority supports this conclusion by invoking, without explanation, the Necessary and Proper Clause. Regulating respondents’ conduct, however, is not “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” Congress’ restrictions on the interstate drug trade. Art. I, §8, cl. 18. Thus, neither the Commerce Clause nor the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the power to regulate respondents’ conduct.

A

As I explained at length in United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549 (1995), the Commerce Clause empowers Congress to regulate the buying and selling of goods and services trafficked across state lines. Id., at 586–589 (concurring opinion). The Clause’s text, structure, and history all indicate that, at the time of the founding, the term “‘commerce’ consisted of selling, buying, and bartering, as well as transporting for these purposes.” Id., at 585 (Thomas, J., concurring). Commerce, or trade, stood in contrast to productive activities like manufacturing and agriculture. Id., at 586–587 (Thomas, J., concurring). Throughout founding-era dictionaries, Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention, The Federalist Papers, and the ratification debates, the term “commerce” is consistently used to mean trade or exchange—not all economic or gainful activity that has some attenuated connection to trade or exchange. Ibid. (Thomas,