Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Economic Activity Definition:

The production, distribution, and consumption of commodities.

In Gonzales v Raich a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States, under the penmanship of Justice Stevens, wrote that economics and economic activity means:

"... the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities."

This was criticized by Justice O'Connor:

"The Court's definition of economic activity is breathtaking. It defines as economic any activity involving the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities.... (D)epending on the level of generality, any activity can be looked upon as commercial — the Court's definition of economic activity ... threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach."

Justice Thomas, also in dissent in Gonzales v Raich,:

"(T)he majority defines economic activity in the broadest possible terms as the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities. This carves out a vast swath of activities that are subject to federal regulation. If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States."

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