UNITED STATES v. BUTLER
As part of the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act, Congress implemented a processing tax on agricultural commodities, from which funds would be redistributed to farmers who promised to reduce their acreage. The Act intended to solve the crisis in agricultural commodity prices which was causing many farmers to go under.
Did Congress exceed its constitutional taxing and spending powers with the Act?
Legal provision: US Const Amend 10; Agricultural Adjustment Act
The Court found the Act unconstitutional because it attempted to regulate and control agricultural production, an arena reserved to the states. Even though Congress does have the power to tax and appropriate funds, argued Justice Roberts, in this case those activities were "but means to an unconstitutional end," and violated the Tenth Amendment.