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FDA Regulating Your Stem Cells As Interstate Commerce

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the oh-that's-raich dept.

Biotech 332

New submitter dcbrianw writes "A non-surgical procedure that treats joint pain involves removing stem cells from a patient's blood and reinserting them into the joint. The facility conducting these procedures resides in Colorado, but because it orders equipment to perform the procedure from outside of Colorado, the FDA claims it must regulate this process and that it can classify stem cells as a drug. This issue opens the debate of what the FDA, or other regulatory bodies, may regulate within each of our own bodies." Quick: Name five activities with no possible plausible effect on interstate commerce.

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332 comments

Commerce maximalists? (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908191)

Can anyone comment on why the Supreme Court has historically allowed the Commerce clause to apply to absolutely anything that could be remotely, however ridiculously, be considered related to interstate commerce, and thus trample states' rights?

Is this simply a perennial sin of the Court, or is there a sound Constitutional basis for it?

Re:Commerce maximalists? (4, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908219)

I was always taught that it was enacted to prevent States from restricting trade between neighboring states... not to prevent trade.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909109)

I was always taught that it was enacted to prevent States from restricting trade between neighboring states... not to prevent trade.

Nobody advocates regulation to *prevent* trade in general. Some trade is *always* restricted by regulation, but the intent and effect of the regulation may be to encourage trade overall. For example if there weren't federal standards for auto emissions, more states might follow California's lead and develop their own regulatory standards. By establishing a nation-wide regulatory regime, a larger and more efficient market results.

On the other hand federal laws *do* effectively prevent *in state* trade in recreational drugs. If anything that's much *more* of an overstepping of federal powers, because the intent is not to provide a uniform regulatory regime for trade in recreational drugs across the country, but to *forbid* the use of recreational drugs *anywhere*. It's seldom questioned because both major parties agree that recreational drug use should be forbidden everywhere.

This is Commerce Clause of the US Constitution: "[Congress will have the power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes. That's it. That's all there is. The plain text of the clause doesn't simply prevent Congress or the States from restricting trade to favor one state's produce over another (that's actually covered in Article 1, Sections 9 and 10). The clause appears to give Congress power to regulate interstate commerce *for any reason it sees fit*. If so, Congress can intentionally *restrict trade* between the states if it believes that trade is not in the national interest. And it does, and will continue to do so. If there's ever successful nation-wide restrictions on abortion, those restrictions will be made possible by the Commerce Clause.

You could reasonably argue that this is *too* much power to give Congress. It wouldn't be the only case. I think the powers the Constitution grants Congress in copyrights and patents almost certainly enable Congress to pass laws that would be repulsive to the framers. But the framers while intending to create a government with circumscribed and carefully enumerated powers couldn't possibly have anticipated *all* the uses to which any one power could be put.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (0, Troll)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908239)

No, this is regulating the shipment of potentially biohazardous material across state lines. Also, anything that crosses a state line becomes a federal matter automatically (so the feds have jurisdiction - which has been true for a very long time). Nobody is telling you that you can't walk across a border because you contain stemcells, and this is not a secret government plot to take away constitutional rights or the rights of states. This is a sensationalist story and unworthy of Slashdot.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (5, Informative)

robbadler (1139975) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908299)

I think you misread the article. Biohazardous material will not be crossing state lines, medical equipment will. This is an attempt to stop the use of that equipment on the grounds that it at one point crossed a state line. So did my jeans. Can they use Interstate Commerce to keep me from going to work?

Re:Commerce maximalists? (5, Insightful)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908897)

Can they use Interstate Commerce to keep me from going to work?

They can use the Interstate Commerce clause to prevent you from growing wheat in your own backyard for your own consumption, so . . . yes? And it's obvious why the courts let them get away with this; like any good statist, the courts also want the government to control your life at every level. Judges really have the easiest job in the world of it, though, since all they have to do is say "Whatever the government wants is cool with us".

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909163)

If you belive that the supreme court is obviously filled with statists, then I have to disagree with your definition for obvious.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908333)

"No, this is regulating the shipment of potentially biohazardous material across state lines."

A curious theory considering nothing in the article mentioned transporting stem cells across state lines.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908765)

"No, this is regulating the shipment of potentially biohazardous material across state lines."

A curious theory considering nothing in the article mentioned transporting stem cells across state lines.

Well, suppose your culture grows out of control, into some hideous monster, which would even give J. J. Abrams the night terrors and start roaming the country side? They'd have a point then methinks.

My Creature Was Monster Of The Month In Tokyo

Re:Commerce maximalists? (5, Interesting)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908363)

No it isn't.

The 'potentially biohazardous material' is contained inside the patient when he boards the airplane to fly to Colorado. That he happens to be going to Colorado to have this procedure performed sets him aparts from the other airplane passengers not at all.

What the FDA is claiming and will probably be backed up by the executive on but possibly not the judicial, is that because the company performing the procedure purchases equipment from other states, their entire business can then be regulated per the commerce clause. This includes their performing the procedure.

It is the same line of thought that had the Clinton administration claiming it could confiscate a person's property simply because that property had once moved across state lines, no matter how long ago and no matter how many hands it had previously passed through, even within the same state. This is an enormous power to give to a government and the very idea that such a tenuous tie is enough to warrant it is insane. SCOTUS rebuked that just a bit recently, but not nearly enough.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908803)

It'll be backed up by the judicial. Almost everything the FDA does has no real basis under the commerce clause and the judicial has always supported it.

The stem cells aren't crossing state lines in this case but once harvested they theoretically could.

That's the same flimsy bs argument that justifies the FDA's regulation of all drugs and it has been upheld by the courts many times.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908613)

Well ignoring your entire post about the article, yeah I think the same way but that's not what is important here (nor do I think it is what the poster intended but I could be wrong), the grand-parent has a point, and so those the original poster. The Interstate commerce clause is overly used by Congress.

Point of fact, it will take an amendment to the United States Constitution to really fix it since a law cannot supersede the Constitution. However, I don't think the majority of people see the Interstate Commerce clause as something that applies to their life. However, I'm just putting my two cents out there. I'll go away now.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908695)

In practice however, law can simply ignore the constitution, as it has many times already. In these cases the defense of the constitution rests in the hands of a few hand-picked men.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908771)

Although the Supreme Court is nominated (a sort of hand-picking), they are approved by 51 elected representatives of the people (Senators).

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

patchmaster (463431) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909053)

Last I looked there were 100 Senators, with the Vice President presiding over the body and able to vote in case of a tie.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908777)

He he. Like you point of view. It's true, sad but true. So I guess to clarify, in theory, an amendment is needed. However, the true issue is that people really do give a flying f***, until it hits them.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38909015)

The constitution is ignored on a regular basis or obviously misinterpreted to suit an agenda. Pretty much the only time you can expect the Constitution to be upheld is when it somehow helps to regulate, control, or imprison someone. When the Constitution impairs these things it is "a loophole" that the legislative, executive, and judicial must work around or not let you get away with.

For an example look to Cannabis that is produced according to California law, in California, and used by Californians, in California, in a way that is legal under California law who get arrested by the DEA because the FDA says its illegal and the FDA claims it has the authority to do this because it is empowered to regulate interstate commerce. How is that for horseshit.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

UltimaBuddy (2566017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909113)

This is regulating the shipment of potentially biohazardous material across state lines.

If you think about it, anyone who has ever crossed state lines is transporting potentially bio-hazardous material across state lines.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (2)

pscottdv (676889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908295)

Can anyone comment on why the Supreme Court has historically allowed the Commerce clause to apply to absolutely anything that could be remotely, however ridiculously, be considered related to interstate commerce, and thus trample states' rights?

Is this simply a perennial sin of the Court, or is there a sound Constitutional basis for it?

I certainly cannot, since the states rights are enshrined in the 14th amendment and the commerce clause is in the original constitution, it has never made sense to me. The amendments are supposed to supercede the consititution. That's the whole point of having them.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (4, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908479)

Actually, States Rights are enshrined in the 10th Amendment. The 14th establishes some federal powers over the States.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908589)

And amendments must be drafted to specifically supersede previous limitations or grants of power in the constitution or amendments in order to have that effect -- but what the fuck, rah rah state's rights -- who cares what the bookish dweebs say.

-GiH

Re:Commerce maximalists? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908885)

I never understood why some people thinks states rights are oh so wholesome. Some of the most corrupt and evil politics have been enshrined at the state level.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908395)

This came up in a constitutional law class I took. The answer we came up with is that (1) we (the general populace) want the federal government to be able to regulate these things, (2) constitutional amendments are nigh impossible, and (3) it can be justified... the logic is tortured, and I doubt any intellectually honest person would really believe it, but it can be done.

You probably hate point (1), but think about when it really started happening... the depression was here, people were miserable, they wanted someone to save them, so they turned to the government. And that still happens today. Turn on the news, and when you hear about a major problem, there will be a commentator following hard upon saying "where were the regulators in all of this?!" and people will nod their heads.

Anyway, that's the answer: the majority of people want it to be the way it is.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908405)

I'm not a legal historian, but I think the case that convinced the Supreme Court to take a broad view of the Commerce Clause was a civil rights law that required equal access to hotels and restaurants, regardless of race.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause [wikipedia.org]

Yup. The New Deal was the first expansion of the Commerce Clause, and after the civil rights law was upheld, it was pretty much all over.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908471)

There was another minor opportunity to stem the tide with some federalist arguments about medical marijuana: people growing their own marijuana, legal under state law, noncommercially, for private use on the premises, argued that this could not possibly be "interstate commerce", but Antonin Scalia of all people wrote an opinion arguing that it was. So you can add "the drug war" as the 3rd wave of things...

And more importantly, Wheat (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908635)

A test case of the New Deal was if the Federal Government could regulate a wheat field that was grown on private land whose purpose was to feed the people who owned the land – and thus would never be sold or transferred across state lines..

The Supreme Court said yes.

I can understand and approve that common carriers have to be open for all (see parent’s comment). The wheat case just strains my poor brain.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908501)

Can anyone comment on why the Supreme Court has historically allowed the Commerce clause to apply to absolutely anything that could be remotely, however ridiculously, be considered related to interstate commerce, and thus trample states' rights?

Because it's the only way for a power-crazed Federal government to impose their laws across the country.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908781)

Generally speaking, because the drafters did not explain what they meant by the term "commerce" when they drafted the Constitution, and the Court has interpreted Congressional power to regulate commerce between the States as encompassing the channels, instrumentalities, and activities of interstate commerce.

--AC

Re:Commerce maximalists? (2, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908511)

Blame FDR. The supreme court was striking down his New Deal regulations and reforms left and right as they didn't jive with the whole "regulating interstate commerce" thing. So he packed the court with statists who rubber-stamped nearly every program and rule with tortured interpretations of the commerce clause.

The side-effect is that the federal government can now regulate nearly everything you do. Unintended consequences and all.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (5, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908739)

Please, please, please. Learn your history.

FDR did not pack the court with statists. In fact, the proposal he had advanced (of adding more justices to the supreme court), never went through. Instead, one justice on the court changed his mind about how to approach these matters and turned what had once been a 4-5 court into a 5-4 court. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_switch_in_time_that_saved_nine [wikipedia.org]

But go ahead and blame FDR, that's easier than learning about history.

--AC

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908545)

Can anyone comment on why the Supreme Court has historically allowed the Commerce clause to apply to absolutely anything that could be remotely, however ridiculously, be considered related to interstate commerce, and thus trample states' rights?

Is this simply a perennial sin of the Court, or is there a sound Constitutional basis for it?

Probably because of that Constitution. Burning is too good for it.

We should shoot it, too, with our Constitutionally protected guns.

Re:Commerce maximalists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908567)

Article 1, Section 8. The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers...

All
Necessary
Proper

if Congress says it's "necessary", it's authorized

if it is conceivably a threat to interstate commerce, or if it is a part of some other action, the combination of which would threaten interstate commerce, then it can be regulated

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908819)

They wanted to uphold the expansion of Federal power. They used the Commerce clause as a justification to pretend the Constitution allows this Federal power. When you care about power more than you care about anything else, you can always find a justification to convince yourself you're right to have power. Given this reasoning, any basis can be a "sound Constitutional basis".

Re:Commerce maximalists? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909039)

Because there's no limits on (or indeed, definitions of) Interstate Commerce in the Constitution. That's the problem with vague laws that people argue are "straightforward," though if they're defined explicitly and thoroughly, then people complain that they're too complicated.

Development of Our Federalism in Historical Contxt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38909103)

The development of Federal power following the creation of the United States is best understood by looking at each constitutional amendment and constitutional case in its historical context. Important cases under the Commerce Clause are no exception. Wikipedia has a great article on this: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_clause#New_Deal" . Specifically, the headings "Early Years", "Dormant Commerce Clause", "New Deal", and those that follow.

One case that was particularly difficult for me was Wickard v. Filburn (1942) where the court upheld a New Deal law which mandated that farmers could not grow crops beyond a certain amount on their own land for their own consumption because the EFFECT of consuming their own produce was that farmers would NOT purchase products in interstate commerce and this, was held to have an effect upon interstate commerce such that congress could regulate such production of food for personal consumption.

Interstate Commerce (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908193)

I think maybe where they've gone off track is they are thinking they can regulate anything related to interstate commerce, rather than just the commerce itself.

Re:Interstate Commerce (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908277)

Your post itself interferes with interstate commerce. I googled your email and you seem to be from california. I was going to take my next vacation there but now that I know you hate america, I will probably not. I will also tell my friends not to go there. I'm sure you clearly see how your terroristic behavior has no place in a free society like ours! The DHS is on the way...

So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908195)

It's a medical procedure. It SHOULD be regulated by the FDA. This has nothing to do with regulating what's "inside the body".

Also, The Blaze is hardly an unbiased source.

Re:So? (5, Informative)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908281)

Uh, no. That's not how medicine OR the FDA works. They don't regulate medical procedures throughout the country. They have a specific scope. But i guess you weren't too sure of yourself if you had to post anonymously, were you?

A modicum of facts [wikipedia.org]

Re:So? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908447)

Not sure I follow you... from your own link:

The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), veterinary products, and cosmetics.

It sounds to me like this procedure would surely fall under the medication, biopharmaceutical, or blood transfusion category... can you explain for us slow kids why this treatment would be (or should be) exempted? Genuinely curious, because it seems to me that regulating treatment for a medical condition like this would fall within the FDA's jurisdiction.

Re:So? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908515)

Genuinely curious, because it seems to me that regulating treatment for a medical condition like this would fall within the FDA's jurisdiction.

Now you just need to explain how the FDA gets the power to do that from the Constitution.

Re:So? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908747)

Constitution grants power to Congress grants power to FDA. Supreme Court affirms that this is the correct interpretation of the constitution, and they are the final arbiters. If you disagree, you're the one who is wrong, by definition.

Re:So? (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908813)

That's a really bad argument. The Supreme Court can be and is regularly wrong. Their word may be law, but that does not make their work right and everyone else wrong. Big difference.

Re:So? (1)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908845)

I know there's something in there about regulating something between the States.

What could it be?

Oh yeah, the Commerce Clause. Article I, Section 8.

And do you really want your medical devices and/or pharmaceuticals to be manufactured in the state with the lowest level of safety regulation?

--AC

Re:So? (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908973)

By the same interpretation, said Commerce Clause grants absolute power over everything. So why pretend the people have rights?

Re:So? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909011)

Now you just need to explain how the FDA gets the power to do that from the Constitution.

Commerce clause, as I'm sure you know.

Now please explain for us how a return to the pre-FDA muckraker's paradise of food & drug safety is in any way a positive argument for the abolition of the FDA? Or perhaps you meant to say that the FDA should have some regulatory authority, but you disagree with specific regulatory decisions or powers that it's been granted?

Re:So? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908527)

It's not blood or a blood transfusion, and it's only a drug because they said it'a s drug (like how marijuana is legally a "narcotic" even though that's not at all what it actually is). And since Biopharmaceuticals are medical drugs produced using biotechnology, I think I've adequately covered my bases -- though you had me scared there for a minute.

Re:So? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908789)

It's extracted from the blood of patients. That extract is then transfused into another body part. It is a treatment for a medical condition. The FDA has regulatory authority over other blood components - plasma, platelets, and whole blood - so why are stem cells in that same blood magically exempted when no other individual fractions of blood are?

Honest question, because this case seems to be much ado about nothing. We can CERTAINLY discuss whether the FDA *should* - as a matter of principle - have the broad authority it's given, but I don't see how this case represents any sort of broad expansion of powers by the FDA - they're asserting that they have the power to regulate this treatment. Given the information in the link you provided, and the simple fact that they oversee & regulate every other use of whole or fractional blood, I'm not sure how you reach the conclusion that the stem cells in that blood belong to some exempt category of blood components.

(As far as the semantic quibble about "narcotic," the Federal code defines the term as it's used. It may not be a 'medically exact' use of the term, but it is defined pretty clearly in the law, where it says "the term narcotic drug is defined as...:")

Re:So? (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908701)

Actually, the FDA does regulate medical procedures. This is to prevent quackery. It's especially relevant with invasive procedures that transfer tissue from one area to another. Not all cell types are harmless in all areas of the body.

Stem cell treatments are something to which I pay close attention (for obvious reasons). There is a lot of evidence that mesenchymal stem cells can promote healing, but that hasn't been proven in humans. There was an clinic in Louisiana called TCA that was doing MSC trials but the FDA shut them down because they were also selling the procedure outside of the study and against the filed protocol. This is no different except the clinic in TFA isn't even bothering with doing real scientific clinical trials. Preclinical animal data is great, but mice ain't men. There is still much work needed to find optimal dosing levels and tease out other potential hazards.

Re:So? (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908833)

And you arrived at your opinion by doing research on the matter and deciding for yourself that it did not meet your definition of safe. (To an extent, the same thing the FDA did.) How odd it is that today it seems odd to let people have the freedom to make a decision for themselves, but quite fine to justify the government making the same decision for them.

While you may have a point, if I'm allowed to participate in a demolition derby, jump out of an airplane, go skiing down dangerous hills, or drive down gravel roads in a mountain park -- then it seems that morally, I have the right to take risk -- even deadly risk -- of doing something, if I choose to do so. Strange how that right disappears into thin air when expensive medical technology gets involved. The mysticism behind the knowledge of what is safe and isn't safe has been slowly disappearing as more and more information is released publicly, online, where everyone can investigate it themselves. The idea that people are taking risks they aren't aware of becomes more disingenuous with each passing day of the information revolution. But the idea that people are not allowed to take certain risks, unless the government says they can -- is a bit of a joke. This isn't snake oil.

DMT (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908199)

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT [wikipedia.org]) is a naturally occuring endogenous neurotransmitter that is also a Schedule I drug.

Re:DMT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908601)

Dimethyl terephthalate is a common polyester precursor, is not a schedule 1 drug and should not get mistaken for DMT.

medical marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908201)

medical marijuana grown and consumed and never crosses state lines can still be regulated because of the commerce clause, according to the Supreme Court.

this is hardly the biggest abuse (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908217)

Interstate commerce is a catch all the government uses when it has no right to do something and wants to do it anyway.

What I find amusing about this is that so many people are upset about this stem cell thing but aren't upset by all the things that created the precedence that allowed them to make these claims in the first place.

if you want this to stop then the inter state commerce clause needs to get it's wings clipped. That's the problem. Go to the source.

Re:this is hardly the biggest abuse (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908379)

At least this abuse of the Commerce Clause involves actual economic activity. Obamacare involves garnishing your wages or potentially landing in you federal prison for not participating in interstate commerce with ... a health insurance company in your own state. It's a good thing we passed that law so we could see what was in it, Nancy!

Re:this is hardly the biggest abuse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908755)

Neither of your assertions are true. You MAY pay a tax penalty.

Re:this is hardly the biggest abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38909029)

WHATEVER you call it, its still less money in my pocket forced to go to the 'healthcare' industry.

Re:this is hardly the biggest abuse (1, Troll)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908881)

So you expect ME to pay the bill if you don't buy insurance and end up at the hospital? Are you immune from injury or are you immortal? If not then you deserve to go to jail for stealing money off of ME because you refuse to by health insurance.

Growing your own food affects interstate commerce (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908223)

If you grow your own food, you won't buy it from another state. Therefore, growing your own food affects interstate commerce. At least that's what the Supreme Court decided when a farmer fed his own animals with his home grown food.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn

Re:Growing your own food affects interstate commer (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908367)

It's the government's "get out of jail free" card to regulate anything they want. If you're doing something involving interstate commerce, clearly that affects interstate commerce. If you choose to avoid doing anything that involves interstate commerce, well then obviously that intentional lack of interaction has an effect on interstate commerce as well!

Elect better politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908667)

There are politicans whom want a tighter interpretation of the interstate commerce clause. Ron Paul is one such politician. He is in the Republican Primaries right now. Vote for him.

Re:Growing your own food affects interstate commer (2)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908719)

Mod parent up: Wickard v. Filburn was the start of the ridiculous expansion of commerce clause overreach.

Not sure I'd trust this source... (0)

sgage (109086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908229)

... to report the issue objectively. It seems to be a rather religious/right-wing kind of a place. That said, could be something here...

The Real Reason for this is that it is a SCAM! (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908231)

The real reason the FDA is trying to step in is that this is a procedure is a medical scam. No different than if I offered to cut off the lobes of your ears to treat deafness.

Re:The Real Reason for this is that it is a SCAM! (2)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908547)

If it is a scam, then the FDA should call up the local attorney general and report a case of fraud.

Why invoke "interstate commerce?" If this is genuinely fraud then call it such and try the perpetrators for it. No Constitutional grey areas there.

Re:The Real Reason for this is that it is a SCAM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908921)

Because the FDA has a job to do, and more expertise than the local district attorneys.

Maybe you can wax philosophic about the Constitution, but me? I consider regulation of certain industries to fall within the lines of an acceptable practice of government.

And there's a reason why we have a nation, not a collection of minor independent states. And like it or not, there's no local right, only states have legal protection, they don't have to respect any establishments within their borders.

Re:The Real Reason for this is that it is a SCAM! (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909079)

Then let them advise the local DA's in prosecuting the fraud case. The point is that if this really is a scam, there are no hard legal questions involved -- scams are illegal, no matter what they are. If this guy is marketing his scams across state lines, then prosecute him in Federal court for fraud. It's not a states vs. federal issue -- it's a question of whether this falls under something that should be "regulated" or whether this is just plain criminal fraud.

Re:The Real Reason for this is that it is a SCAM! (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909075)

If I choose to pay you to perform such a procedure, then that it my right.

Cute. (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908237)

And here I thought Roe vs Wade claims the State has no right to tell you what you can or cannot do with your body.

Oh, wait, they're trying to invalidate Roe vs Wade. Too many loopholes, I guess...

Re:Cute. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908451)

Close, but not quite. Roe v Wade's ruling was a declaration of when life begins. An unconstitutional one, but then again the vast majority of stuff the federal gov't does is unconstitutional (see Amendment 9 & 10, and I'll let you figure out the rest - just about anybody's time can be spent doing something better than giving a long lecture over Slashdot), including regulations like the one in this article.

Five Things (1)

jpwilliams (2430348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908241)

Lawnmowing Paper delivery boy Massages School Assembly Public Speaking Local Prostitution

Lost count (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908343)

I lost count, is that 5 things, 6 things, or just 1?

5 Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908285)

1) Breathing?
2) ... ...I'll get back to you once I confirm this post meets FDA regulations.*

*(This post only allowed in New York, USA. Do not view, store, or transmit this post unless within the state of New York. Failure to comply may be a federal crime and could result in fines and jail time. By continuing to read this post you accept these terms.)

No such thing exists (5, Insightful)

NovaSupreme (996633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908287)

You cannot do anything without having some effect on interstate commerce.
Entropy of whole universe must increase with time, so everything is connected including interstate commerce and your poop.
Alternatively, if you are alive and you breathe, you must be changing composition of air a little bit, and since all air is connected, you are modifying the air composition of the whole country. This promotes traders who sell purified air across states.
Alternatively, if you buy an out-of-state merchandise, of course you impact interstate commerce. On the other hand, if you dont buy from an out-of-state merchant, of course you impact interstate commerce, as your (lack of) activity will have negative effect on the price of the merchandise.

Oh, this would be so funny if this clause were not the most abused clause in the constitution, that has been taken WAAAAAY out of its context.

Re:No such thing exists (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908825)

Entropy of whole universe must increase with time, so everything is connected including interstate commerce and your poop.

Ah ha! So that's where the federal government gets the right to regulate how much water I use when I flush my toilet! I always wondered how they rationalized that.

Licking a wound? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908309)

Compounds in saliva promote healing and immune response. Are those drugs? Will they soon be regulating the practice of licking wounds?

Re:Licking a wound? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908459)

Compounds in saliva promote healing and immune response. Are those drugs? Will they soon be regulating the practice of licking wounds?

If a doctor takes your saliva, extracts certain parts, and uses it as a medical treatment, I sure hope so. Quackery is not a Good Thing in medicine.

Re:Licking a wound? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908727)

Quackery is not a Good Thing in medicine.

I thought the distinction between quackery and medicine was sound experimental techniques, solid statistics, reproducible results and peer review. Not a sign-off by a three-letter-acronym government agency. Oh well, silly me.

Re:Licking a wound? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908903)

I thought the distinction between quackery and medicine was sound experimental techniques, solid statistics, reproducible results and peer review. Not a sign-off by a three-letter-acronym government agency. Oh well, silly me.

That sign-off being based on all the former stuff. Anyone can say they've done all the science and prove whatever they want. Kevin Treudau does it all the time. Makes a bundle selling books about it. Rubbing beets on your butt eliminates cellulite. Drinking frog piss relieves constipation. That kind of stuff.

Now, you'll have to explain how these folks did that research when there is a ban on stem cell research in the US, which includes Colorado. Oh, sorry, that's a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research using other than the existing lines. Sounds much worse the way I put it first. And everyone knows that embryonic stem cells are the only usable ones, so these guys in Colorado who are using adult stem cells must be quacks, based on the stem cell authorities themselves.

But the short answer is yes, a doctor who takes saliva and uses it for a medical procedure would be regulated. Otherwise he'll not get insurance companies to pay out for the procedure, and doctors don't do spit without getting paid these days. Heck, insurance companies won't pay for FDA-approved drugs if they aren't used for FDA-approved purposes, despite any useful "side-effects" that are in the literature.

Hahahahahaha (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908335)

This is precious, why have a Constitution if you can 'interpret' it at all, so in reality nothing that government wants to do can be prevented?

I mean, eventually you BREATH AIR, right? Doesn't air cross State boundaries? That's it - your very existence can be regulated by the federal government completely even if you never leave your particular State.

If you grow your own food in your own garden and you don't even buy anything from anybody - well, by gov't logic (and it's true, it already was argued) you are involved in 'interstate commerce'. Why? Because you aren't buying things from other states, so you are clearly preventing their sales, which means you are interfering with inter-state commerce, which means you are engaged in it.

Hawaii is one state, yet it has 'interstate highways' in it (H-1), but it's one State. So how is that possible? Well the answer is obvious - when federal government wants to build a highway system in order to interfere with States rights logic exits the doors.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908915)

This is precious, why have a Constitution if you can 'interpret' it at all, so in reality nothing that government wants to do can be prevented?

Because the people who wrote the Constitution expected it to be regularly amended, so they wrote it using very vague terms that they though could be amended over time.

Later, when the Supreme Court established itself as arbiters of what is and isn't Constitutional, most of those same people were still around and could have stopped this... with a Constitutional amendment. But they didn't.

And then it became way too difficult to get an amendment passed, but there's still a Supreme Court and that vaguely worded document. And since there's no indication that we could ever pass amendments to override anything (and theoretically "reset" the Supreme Court's basis for opinions) the best we can hope for is to change them over time via stacking the court. And that doesn't work since, at least with regard to the commerce clause, I doubt either party would nominate someone who's view differs from the current standard.

Can we include sunlight? (1)

iinventstuff (1888700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908409)

My sunlight comes from out of state, too. Should we that with usage regulations and fees?

Re:Can we include sunlight? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908945)

If I owned land at the edge of one state, and I built a skyscraper tall enough to cover your farm in perpetual shade (at least half the day) which hurts your production, then yeah, that would absolutely be a federal issue. That's pretty much book definition of commerce clause though.

Grow your own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908499)

It's not commerce if you grow your own wheat and feed it to your livestock.

Oh, wait. Facepalm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn

I would love to have a government that stopped thinking so highly of itself.

Re:Grow your own (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908619)

It's not commerce if you grow your own wheat and feed it to your livestock.

Oh, wait. Facepalm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn [wikipedia.org]

I would love to have a government that stopped thinking so highly of itself.

How about if I clone myself?

Lettem try to arrest me/us I'll/We'll fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. I/We shall never surrender!

Interstate Commerce May Include Intrastate Acts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908513)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn

The US government, in an attempt to control the price of wheat, set limits on wheat production. A farmer grew more than his legal allotment, but the excess never left his farm, being used for private consumption. The court ruled that though the wheat never left his farm (let alone the state), his excess production lead to higher supply that did have some effect on the price, and thus, was subject to federal regulation.

That case was cited in a more recent and similar case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzales_v._Raich), in which homegrown marijuana for medical use (in California, where state laws permit it) was destroyed by the federal government. Government action was upheld as the homegrown medical supply had an effect on the larger interstate non-medical supply.

Interstate commerce (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908555)

Name five activities with no possible plausible effect on interstate commerce? None, when you can't even grow food in your garden without it being regulated by the federal government. I mean, I could have sex with my wife and they'd claim it should be regulated because I could have patronized a whore in the next state instead.

... Glenn Beck on Slashdot? (5, Insightful)

truavatar (2463178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908569)

Glenn Beck's "theblaze.com" is your sole source for this front page post? Thanks slashdot.

Re:... Glenn Beck on Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

gewalker (57809) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908763)

I don't care whether it comes from theblaze, huffpost , the national enquirer, or the KKK. If the the story is accurate and relevant (sufficiently interesting, funny, etc.)? If yes, the front page is fine by me. If you have a choice of sourcing the article, a less incendiary source would be a wiser choice.

Re:... Glenn Beck on Slashdot? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909003)

If you have a choice of sourcing the article, a less incendiary source would be a wiser choice.

How about using one that doesn't immediately pop up a large white box with a demand that you subscribe to their newsletter, and try opening up a couple of other popup windows at the same time? How about just avoiding sites like that?

abuse@theblaze.com will probably enjoy the subscription I gave him.

Re:... Glenn Beck on Slashdot? (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38909065)

I can't remember the exact quote, nor who it was that said it, but it goes something like this:

Everything he said was accurate, and not a word of it was true.

Do we really want random doctors performing do-it-yourself stem cell treatments on the fly with no oversight? Just because they come from your body doesn't mean they are harmless, I bet there are any number of chemicals, bacteria, or cell lines that could be isolated from the human body and put back into a different part and would lead to problems. Keying up on their (IMO mis-)use of the interstate commerce clause is just deflecting from the fact that these procedures should be regulated, and classifying stem cells as a drug seems to me to be a reasonable way to do it.

Waitin' for the day... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38908579)

When I'm sued by some conglomerate, for having the temerity to take my biomass across state lines, donate blood or some such, because they've got some damn patent on it.

Wickard v. Filburn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38908653)

Like it or not, this WWII rationing decision is the cornerstone to the present interpertation for interstate commerece.

The pot laws, the laws that limit automatic weapons and clip sizes trace back here - so its not going away.

The only way to get this overturned is to get a Constitutional Amendment. With language like:

Be it the Supreme Court has their head up thine asses when they feltgrowing your own grain on your own property effected interstate commerce and the Congress can't seem to extract it, it is up to the citizens to declare:

Stuff done in the state borders that never leaves the State doesn't effect interstate commerce. And that goes double for that plant growing in yor closet.

Therefore: Go pound sand federalies.

(I'm sure someone else can clean up the verbage. Then all someone has to do is form a 509 (is it 509?) corp to take in donations along with a SuperPAC to get in money and hand it out to various ppl to push the amendment adjenda. Potheads and banna clip advocates united!)

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