Friday, November 15, 2013

Wickard v. Filburn case brief

Wickard v. Filburn case brief summary
317 U.S. 111 (1942)

Appellants, agriculture secretary and other government officials, appealed from a decree of three judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, which permanently enjoined appellants from enforcing certain penalties against appellee farmer under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, 7 U.S.C.S. §§ 1281 and 1340.

Appellee farmer filed a complaint against appellants to enjoin enforcement against himself of the marketing penalty imposed by amendment to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (Act), 7 U.S.C.S. §§ 1281 and 1340, and seeking a declaratory judgment the wheat marketing quota provisions of the Act applicable to him were unconstitutional.

The district court held that the agriculture secretary's speech advocating quotas had invalidated the required referendum of farmers affected by the quota. The district court enjoined collecting a marketing penalty from appellee and from subjecting appellee's entire crop to a lien for the payment of the penalty and from collecting a penalty.


  • The Court determined that the secretary's speech did not have the effect of invalidating a referendum. Appellee's complaint was found frivolous and injunction unwarranted. 
  • The Court also found that the Act amendment was not violative of U.S. Constitutional amendment V. 
  • Appellee was not denied due process by a penalty being imposed because government regulation was by an authorized act of Congress and was within its commerce powers. 
  • The judgment of the district court was reversed.


The judgment of the lower court was reversed. The Court determined that the penalty was contingent upon an act that appellee committed not before but after the enactment of the statute, and had he chosen to act differently, no penalty would have been demanded.

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