The Commerce Clause – Regulation or Control?

30 September 2013

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” – Ronald Reagan

Regulation v. Control

Conservative spokesmen often warn against “government regulation” of day to day commerce. Is ‘regulation’ an appropriate word? Sometimes. How do the words ‘regulate’ and ‘control’ differ?

The fundamental and historical meaning of the verb ‘regulate’ is “to make regular”. Regulations serve to ensure conformity to law. The founders inserted Article I, Section 8, clause 3 for the purpose of making regular “Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes“. Toward the end of making regular interstate and international commerce, the Congress established uniform weights and measures. But, it was never the intent of the founders that federal government control commerce within a state.

Legal Definitions

Regulation – rules and administrative codes issued by governmental agencies at all levels, municipal, county, state and federal. Although they are not laws, regulations have the force of law, since they are adopted under authority granted by statutes, and often include penalties for violations.

Control – the power to direct, manage, oversee and/or restrict the affairs, business or assets of a person or entity. 2) v. to exercise the power of control.

Back to Basics

The Founders inserted the commerce clause to establish a ‘level playing field’ between the states, primarily. It was not their intent that Congress should micromanage our daily lives as does a myriad of unconstitutional federal bureaucracies like the DEA, FDA, DHS, HHS, BATF, IRS, and a host of other ‘alphabet soup’ agencies.

Federal government long ago began to overstep the bounds the Constitution, contrary to the Tenth Amendment. Federal government now micromanages state speed limits, duplicates state environmental protection agencies, down to school lunch menus.

The Constitution grants federal government only seventeen (17) enumerated (limited) powers and further attempts to constrain ‘big government’ with the Tenth Amendment.

One issue, the Keystone Pipeline, is a prime example of federal government flooding over its banks. The commerce clause grants authority over interstate movement of the oil, but not actual construction of the pipeline.


Either we restore Constitutional boundaries to federal law, or forever kiss our God-given liberties goodbye. We most certainly don’t need two environmental agencies overseeing commerce INSIDE the borders of our state, therefore we should eliminate a wasteful EPA.

The Department of Energy was established to ensure adequate energy supplies, but federal government, in this regard, has shifted from regulating interstate and international commerce to dictating what happens within our state. It’s time to eliminate this wasteful agency as well.


Tell your Congressional delegation to shrink the size of federal government back to its Constitutionally assigned boundaries.

Senator John Cornyn contact information


517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-2934
Fax: 202-228-2856

Senator Ted Cruz contact information


185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5922

Congressman Ralph M. Hall contact information


2405 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515-0001
Tel No: 202-225-6673
Fax: 202-225-3332

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