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Methods of Interpreting the Commerce Clause: A Comparative Analysis


Robert J. Pushaw


Pepperdine University - School of Law

August 19, 2009

Arkansas Law Review, Vol. 55, 2003

Abstract:     
Professor Pushaw further develops the neo-federalist method of interpreting the Commerce Clause that he adopted in his 1999 Iowa Law Review article with Grant Nelson titled, “Rethinking the Commerce Clause: Applying First Principles to Uphold Federal Commercial Regulation but Preserve State Control Over Social Issues.” Professor Pushaw first identifies the inadequacies in the five different, popular modes of Constitutional interpretation – textualism, structuralism, originalism, precedentialism and living constitutionalism. Professor Pushaw then demonstrates that his theory of neo-federalism provides the fullest and soundest reading of the Commerce Clause. Under this approach, Congress can regulate “commerce” – defined as the voluntary sale of goods or services and all accompanying activities intended for the marketplace, including production and the compensated rendering of services – but not purely cultural, moral and social matters. This theory has deep roots in the text and history of the Commerce Clause, yet also accommodates changes over the years and evolving congressional practice and judicial precedent.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: constitional interpretation, textualism, structuralism, originalism, precedentialism, living constitutionalism, federalism, commerce clause

JEL Classification: K40

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Date posted: August 20, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Pushaw, Robert J., Methods of Interpreting the Commerce Clause: A Comparative Analysis (August 19, 2009). Arkansas Law Review, Vol. 55, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1458005

Contact Information

Robert J. Pushaw (Contact Author)
Pepperdine University - School of Law ( email )
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
(310) 506-6318 (Phone)
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