An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman


United States v. Darby (1941), unanimously upheld Congress’s power to regulate the wages of local lumber workers. Darby rejected the direct effects test and introduced the substantial effects test. This framework recognized that Congress could do more than simply protect interstate commerce from being burdened or obstructed. Congress also had the power to regulate “intrastate activities where they have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.” The Court’s analysis, by Justice Stone, relied on McCulloch v. Maryland (1819).

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