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WICKARD V. FILBURN, 317 U. S. 111 (1942)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942)

Wickard v. Filburn

No. 59

Argued May 4, 1942

Reargued October 13, 1942

Decided November 9, 1942

317 U.S. 111


1. Pending a referendum vote of farmers upon wheat quotas proclaimed by the Secretary of Agriculture under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, the Secretary made a radio address in which he advocated approval of the quotas and called attention to the recent enactment by Congress of the amendatory act, later approved

Page 317 U. S. 112

May 26, 1941. The speech mentioned the provisions of the amendment for increase of loans on wheat, but not the fact that it also increased the penalty on excess production, and added that, because of the uncertain world situation, extra acreages of wheat had been deliberately planted, and "farmers should not be penalized because they have provided insurance against shortages of food." There was no evidence that the subsequent referendum vote approving the quotas was influenced by the speech.

Held, that, in any event, and even assuming that the penalties referred to in the speech were those prescribed by the Act, the validity of the vote was not thereby affected. P. 317 U. S. 117.

2. The wheat marketing quota and attendant penalty provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended by the Act of May 26, 1941, when applied to wheat not intended in any part for commerce but wholly for consumption on the farm, are within the commerce power of Congress. P. 317 U. S. 118.

3. The effect of the Act is to restrict the amount of wheat which may be produced for market and the extent as well to which one may forestall resort to the market by producing for his own needs. P. 317 U. S. 127.

4. That the production of wheat for consumption on the farm may be trivial in the particular case is not enough to remove the grower from the scope of federal regulation where his contribution, taken with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial. P. 317 U. S. 127.

5. The power to regulate interstate commerce includes the power to regulate the prices at which commodities in that commerce are dealt in and practices affecting such prices. P. 317 U. S. 128.

6. A factor of such volume and variability as wheat grown for home consumption would have a substantial influence on price conditions on the wheat market, both because such wheat, with rising prices, may flow into the market and check price increases and, because, though never marketed, it supplies the need of the grower which would otherwise be satisfied by his purchases in the open market. P. 317 U. S. 128.

7. The amendatory Act of May 26, 1941, which increased the penalty upon "farm marketing excess" and included in that category wheat which previously had not been subject to penalty, held not invalid as retroactive legislation repugnant to the Fifth Amendment when applied to wheat planted and growing before it was enacted, but harvested and threshed thereafter. P. 317 U. S. 131.

43 F.Supp. 1017, reversed.

Page 317 U. S. 113

APPEAL from a decree of the District Court of three judges which permanently enjoined the Secretary of Agriculture and other appellants from enforcing certain penalties against the appellee, a farmer, under the Agricultural Adjustment Act.

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