Wickard v. Filburn Case Brief

Facts of the case

Filburn was a small farmer in Ohio who harvested nearly 12 acres of wheat above his allotment under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. Filburn was penalized under the Act. He argued that the extra wheat that he had produced in violation of the law had been used for his own use and thus had no effect on interstate commerce, since it never had been on the market. In his view, this meant that he had not violated the law because the additional wheat was not subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause.

Why is the case important?

The Appellee, Filburn (Appellee), produced wheat only for personal and local consumption. He was penalized for growing wheat in excess of his allotment allowed by the Department of Agriculture.


May Congress regulate purely intrastate activities under the commerce clause?


Yes. Appeals court ruling reversed and remanded.
Although the wheat may be entirely for personal consumption, it does compete for wheat in commerce, by taking away the demand for wheat by the one who grows it. As the one growing the wheat does not have to buy wheat, the demand for wheat goes down. When viewed in the aggregate (if everyone overgrew wheat “for personal consumption”), this decrease in demand would have a significant effect on interstate commerce.


  • Advocates: Charles Fahy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, argued and reargued for the appellants Harry N. Routzohn argued and reargued for the appellee Webb R. Clark argued and reargued for the appellee
  • Appellant: Claude R. Wickard, Secretary of Agriculture et al.
  • Appellee: Roscoe C. Filburn
  • DECIDED BY:Stone Court
  • Location: Roscoe Filburn’s Farm
Citation: 317 US 111 (1942)
Argued: May 4, 1942
ReArgued: Oct 13, 1942
Decided: Nov 9, 1942
Wickard v. Filburn Case Brief