Pros And Cons Of The Beat The Flu Act

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Since the early 19th century case of Gibbons v. Ogden, Congress’ ability to regulate commerce under the Commerce Clause has rapidly expanded. What began as the power to control trade between two states soon extended to transportation, production of goods shipped between states, and eventually to activity with a substantial influence on commerce. In the latter half of the 20th century, the Supreme Court finally began to restrict the extent of the Commerce Clause with the cases of U.S. v. Lopez, U.S. v. Morrison, and later NFIB v. Sebelius. After the trend of lessening the power of the Commerce Clause, Congress does not have a Constitutional basis to enact the Beat the Flu Act. While some may equate the case to Wickard v. Fillburn in an argument …show more content…

The claim relies on the fact that while one person receiving the vaccine may not have any effect on commerce, eliminating the flu for the entire population would reduce the amount of hospital visits and sick days taken as a result of the flu. Subsequently, the people who would have been in the hospital or home sick because of the flu would instead be at work and would be more productive members of the economy. However, this claim is as indirect as one that women who are unaffected by gender related violence would then be more productive to the economy. Under the precedent set by Morrison, the Congressional findings and the but-for causal chain of events resulting from the flu are not enough to constitute a substantial effect on …show more content…

By linking the health of the populace to its economic productivity, a ruling in favor of the Act would essentially allow Congress to mandate any action which is undeniably beneficial for one’s health. This could mean mandating exercise, healthy eating, eight hours of sleep a night, or any number of behaviors which are known to improve one’s long term health. In the same way that declaring the Violence Against Women Act constitutional would mean Congress “would be able to regulate murder or any other type of violence,” deciding the Beat the Flu Act is constitutional would grant Congress the power to regulate virtually any health related issue. As with Morrison, this chain of events would eliminate the boundary between federal and state powers, and in order for our federalist system to function “the Constitution requires a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local” (U.S. v. Morrison (1995)). The logical progression of the Beat the Flu Act is an expansion of the Commerce Clause to include powers which are currently, and justifiably, far beyond the reach of

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