What Does the Commerce Clause Entitle Congress to Do?


Quick Answer

The commerce clause, found in the United State Constitution, gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, within the states and Native American tribes. The commerce clause also allows Congress the power to limit the rights of trade within states and oversees international trade.

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Full Answer

The commerce clause is found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. This section of the constitution outlines the various rights and responsibilities of Congress. The commerce clause falls under the right to regulate trade. It is sometimes divided into three clauses, because the groups it covers are so varied. Under the term commerce clause, there is also the Foreign Commerce Clause, the Interstate Commerce Clause and the Indian Commerce Clause.

Because the Constitution does not give an exact definition of commerce and the direct limitations of regulating trade in this clause, Congress holds an expansive amount of power when dealing with national and international trade limits and regulations. It also gives the Supreme Court a large amount of flexibility when dealing with cases based on the commerce clause. A large part of the court cases involving the commerce clause are based on the balance of state versus federal power.

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