In American Jurisprudence, there has always been a tug-of-war between Federal powers and State powers. Sometimes, in the only way for the law to properly address trends in society, the court has been willing to move away from the literal interpretation of the Constitution. Conservatives believe these trends away from literal interpretation are temporary, while liberals believe they promote "a more perfect union'; the ongoing American experiment as a unique multicultural society.
I am not going to place a value judgement on this tug-of-war, or on "literal interpretation". Although I attended law school I am more interested here in discussing the type of lifestyle that we might need to adjust to due to Covid19 Quarantine, and how the courts might reconsider their interpretations of the law to accommodate comtemporary American living.
As we are now expecting a longer term quarantine, I have been thinking about what to do with all my time at home.
We have a small patch of land in the yard, where a couple of tomato plants have been thriving through the autumn. So I've purchased some seeds for winter crops, to keep myself occcupied with more gardening.
Still, we live just across the street from a grocery store, and can always have foodstuffs delivered by home delivery such as Amazon.com .
The commerce clause, and "dormant" commerce Clause (negative implications of the Commerce Clause) are related to the Federal Government's interest in guaranteeing the right to travel and trade between states.
In Wickard v Filburn (1942), the court ruled that the government could even regulate a small farm used exclusively for home consumption. Some thought this was an intrusive extension of federal power, but history suggests that neither the farmers nor the state would have been better off if the case hadn't been decided in favor of the federal government.
There are several valid justifications for the ruling. The main one being what I call the "Branch Davidian" concern: a recurring string of incidents in American History where religious groups purchase land and attempt to create a "self-sufficient" community, unconnected to their surroundings, whether the locality, state or the nation. These communities are consistent with America's tradition for "pioneerism".
Other than that, growing food for yourself in a home garden need not worry any government regulators.
That's not the only reason I am discussing this law.
Generally speaking, I find, that when I do something as a hobby, such as vegetable gardening, it helps me relax and enjoy my life. I am more motivated to develop my skills, and find joy in my little successes.
If the garden is for work or for trade, it ends up being more of a burden.
Therefore, I am proposing that we all consider picking up a few hobbies while stuck in quarantine. Its fine if you make a small amount of money on these hobbies, as I do in the publication of this article. It would in fact be great if someday these articles would turn me into a millionaire. My point is, I write these articles mainly as an outlet for my ideas, and in the process improve my skills in the craft. As long as my productive daily activities are self-motivated, rather than money-motivated, I believe I am more likely to be happier and healthier.
I still do appreciate the fresh vegetables I buy across the street at the grocery store, and don't expect that I would ever be self-sufficient in my garden. Nor do I expect to make much of a living selling my precious little tomatoes.
We must remember that healthcare involves care of the spirit; the enjoyment of life, relaxation of the mind. We all know that any activity that we undertake mainly for financial reasons always causes stress.
One day, we might have a society where everyone is hard at work eight hours a day, just working on their hobbies.
About the Creator
Samir Goradia grew up in Queens, New York, and attended The Bronx High School of Science/
He resides in Bakersfield, California, where he is involved in the transition to Commercial Space Travel; and also disaster relief with FEMA.