Seven years can see the Supreme Court travel a long way. In 1935 the Court invalidated the National Industrial Recovery Act, a centerpiece of the New Deal’s efforts to combat the Depression. This was but one of a series of cases in which the Court sought to entrench old notions about government’s role in regulating the nation’s economy. Seven years later, the Court (seven of whose members had been appointed since 1935), decided Wickard v. Filburn, upholding the Agricultural Adjustment Act’s penalty imposed on a farmer who grew wheat for consumption on his own farm. In seven years, the Court had gone from close judicial oversight of Congress’s decisions about the national economy to something close to complete deference.
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