03-07-2017, 12:17 PM
As a result of a Senate investigation in 1888-1889 which found a number of Trusts were interfering with free trade among the States, the Sherman Anti Trust Act was passed to “protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies.” But the Act remained, as noted by Supreme Court Justice Harlan, “a piece of useless legislation.”
But in the mid 1940’s a criminal indictment was handed down charging 27 individuals with violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Some of the specific allegations were conspiracy, price fixing, restraint of interstate trade and commerce, and monopolizing trade and commerce. Please keep these charges in mind because they are very pertinent to our current situation and seem to reflect what folks in government have been engaged in. The defendants in the case claimed they were not required to conform to the standards of business conduct established by the Sherman Act because “the business of fire insurance is not commerce.” But the Supreme Court decided the insurance business was in fact commerce and subject to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Congress’s regulations. See SOUTH-EASTERN UNDERWRITERS ASSOCIATION, Decided June 5, 1944
Less than a year after the Supreme Court decision was handed down, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 providing that the “business of insurance, and every person engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the several States which relate to the regulation or taxation of such business.” In other words Congress decides to overrule the Court’s decision and relinquish its constitutionally assigned duty to regulate commerce “among the States”, but only with regard to the insurance industry! And by neglecting this power the various State Legislatures are allowed to engage in practices which would otherwise be indictable offenses under the Sherman and Clayton Acts, and so, the various State Legislatures decide to engage in such practices e.g., adopting discriminatory laws which work to stifle competition from out-of-state companies (restraint of interstate trade and commerce).