Preemption of Freedom Firearms and Liberty Lightbulbs

May 9th, 2011

In order to avoid a pending federal ban on incandescent lightbulbs, South Carolina–always willing to fire the first shot in the fight for states’ rights–is considering a law called the Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act ┬áthat would legalize incandescent lightbulbs “Made in South Carolina.” AP has the story:

As early as Tuesday, the South Carolina House will begin debating a bill that would allow companies to manufacture incandescent bulbs in South Carolina as long as they stamp them “Made in South Carolina” and sell them only within the state.

What about pre-emption by the federal law?

Supporters of the bill say the federal government would have no authority to intervene because its power to regulate business extends only to commerce that crosses state lines.

But is this bill constitutional because it is unprecedented? No shot for liberty here, says Randy Barnett, the godfather of interstate commerce.

And Randy Barnett, a constitutional law expert at Georgetown University, said the state would probably lose, in part because it wouldn’t be able to keep people from buying incandescent light bulbs in South Carolina and using them in another state.

Several states have attempted to evade federal gun regulations by permitting so called freedom firearms, that are entirely built in one state, and do not cross state lines. No dice there either. Pesky supremacy clause.