The power of Congress to protect interstate commence is plenary and may be exerted to protect interstate commerce no matter what the source of the dangers which threaten it. Although activities may be intrastate in character, if they have a substantial relation to interstate commerce and their control is essential or appropriate to protect that commerce from burdens and obstructions, Congress cannot be denied the power to exercise that control.
The National Labor Relations Board sought their enforcement of an order to employer, which was engaged in the manufacture of iron and steel, to cease and desist from unfair labor practices, to offer reinstatement to 10 employees at one of its plants who were discharged for union activity, to make good their losses in pay, and to post notices. The lower court denied its petition. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed. The case was elevated on certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Was the National Labor Relations Act authorized by Congress to regulate interstate commerce?
The court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act was a proper exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, that employees had a right to self-organization, and that discrimination and coercion to prevent exercise of this right was a proper subject for condemnation by legislative authority. The court further ruled that the Act applied to respondent's employees who were engaged exclusively in production because intrastate activities that were closely connected to interstate commerce were subject to regulation by Congress.