South Carolina’s Light Bulb

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4 Responses

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    “What is unclear to me is why, in the second decade of the new millennium, these basic issues of federal power presumed largely settled during the New Deal and subsequent civil rights legislation have been placed in question again.”

    I think you’re missing the fundamental reason this wasn’t really settled: The Constitution didn’t get amended. It’s text is still such that people reading it without a fixed determination to validate New Deal power grabs will see limits where the Court refuses to.

    The federal government got possession of these powers, but in a sense never bothered to obtain a clear title. The previous owners will never give up trying to reclaim them while that remains the case.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    A very narrow point about light bulbs: I’d thought that the reason for fluorescents is to reduce power consumption. The fact that power is shared across interstate grids suggests that even the most simplistic Commerce Clause analysis should be enough to knock down the LBFA. (Or more precisely: Assume that bulbs manufactured and sold within the state will be used somewhere. If used within SC, the interstate power grid issue above applies; or if used outside the state, there’s obviously interstate commerce involved in their re-sale and/or transport.) My guess is that the popular animus is stirred up by an undifferentiated stew of the reasons you mention, with a heavy accent on the local politics. Since most people can’t even identify the contents of the Bill of Rights, Brett’s explanation, whatever its possible merits, seems too highbrow.

  3. Brett Bellmore says:

    Actually, the simplest, (Which is not to say simplistic.) commerce clause analysis goes something like this: Is manufacturing and selling a light bulb in a single state ITSELF interstate commerce? No? Then it’s not covered by the clause. Which doesn’t say squat about regulating things that effect such commerce…

    I’d say the main motivation behind the law is lawmakers trying to make happy constituents who are simply pissed off about having one of their normal, every day choices taken away from them. But if Thomas can engage in highbrow analysis, it’s fair to note that people on the other side can, too.

  4. Lawrence Laplante says:

    Brett’s right.

    If there’s one thing South Carolinians ALWAYS fight for, it’s the right to choose.