2 = “the broccoli horrible.” Underlying THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s view that the Commerce Clause must be confined to the regulation of active participants in a commercial market is a fear that the commerce power would otherwise know no limits. See, e.g., ante, at 23 (Allowing Congress to compel an individual not engaged in commerce to purchase a product would “permi[t] Congress to reach beyond the natural extent of its authority, everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.”(internal quotation marks omitted)). The joint dissenters express a similar apprehension. See post, at 8 (If the minimum coverage provision is upheld under the commerce power then “the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, . . . the hideous monster whose devouring jaws . . . spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low,nor sacred nor profane.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). This concern is unfounded. First, THE CHIEF JUSTICE could certainly uphold the individual mandate without giving Congress carte blanche to enact any and all purchase mandates. As several times noted, the unique attributes of the health-care market render everyone active in that market and give rise to a significant free-riding problem that does not occur in other markets. See supra, at 3–7, 16–18, 21. Nor would the commerce power be unbridled, absent THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s “activity” limitation. Congress would remain unable to regulate noneconomic conduct that has only an attenuated effect on interstate commerce and is traditionally left to state law. See Lopez, 514 U. S., at 567; Morrison, 529 U. S., at 617–619. In Lopez, for example, the Court held that the Federal Government lacked power, under the Commerce Clause, to criminalize the possession of a gun in a local school zone. Possessing a gun near a school, the Court reasoned, “is in no sense an economic activity that might, through repetition elsewhere, substantially affect any sort of interstate commerce.” 514 U. S., at 567; ibid. (noting that the Court would have “to pile inference upon inference” to conclude that gun possession has a substantial effect on commerce). Relying on similar logic, the Court concluded in Morrison that Congress could not regulate gender-motivated violence, which the Court deemed to have too “attenuated [an] effect upon interstate commerce.” 529 U. S., at 615. An individual’s decision to self-insure, I have explained, is an economic act with the requisite connection to interstate commerce. See supra, at 16–17. Other choices individuals make are unlikely to fit the same or similar description. As an example of the type of regulation he fears, THE CHIEF JUSTICE cites a Government mandate to purchase green vegetables. Ante, at 22–23. One could call this concern “the broccoli horrible.” Congress, THE CHIEF JUSTICE posits, might adopt such a mandate, reasoning that an individual’s failure to eat a healthy diet, like the failure to purchase health insurance, imposes costs on others. See ibid. Consider the chain of inferences the Court would have to accept to conclude that a vegetable-purchase mandate was likely to have a substantial effect on the health-care costs borne by lithe Americans. The Court would have to believe that individuals forced to buy vegetables would then eat them (instead of throwing or giving them away),would prepare the vegetables in a healthy way (steamed or raw, not deep-fried), would cut back on unhealthy foods, and would not allow other factors (such as lack of exercise or little sleep) to trump the improved diet.   The failure to purchase vegetables in THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s hypothetical, then, is not what leads to higher health-care costs for others; rather, it is the failure of individuals to maintain a healthy diet, and the resulting obesity, that creates the cost-shifting problem. See ante, at 22–23. Requiring individuals to purchase vegetables is thus several steps removed from solving the problem. The failure to obtain health insurance, by contrast, is the immediate cause of the cost-shifting Congress sought to address through the ACA. See supra, at 5–7. Requiring individuals to obtain insurance attacks the source of the problem directly, in a single step. Such “pil[ing of] inference upon inference” is just what the Court refused to do in Lopez and Morrison. Other provisions of the Constitution also check congressional overreaching. A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause. Supplementing these legal restraints is a formidable check on congressional power: the democratic process. See Raich, 545 U. S., at 33; Wickard, 317 U. S., at 120 (repeating Chief Justice Marshall’s “warning that effective restraints on [the commerce power’s] exercise must proceed from political rather than judicial processes” (citing Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 197 (1824)). As the controversy surrounding the passage of the Affordable Care Act attests, purchase mandates are likely to engender political resistance. This prospect is borne out by the behavior of state legislators. Despite their possession of unquestioned authority to impose mandates, state governments have rarely done so. See Hall, Commerce Clause Challenges to Health Care Reform, 159 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1825, 1838 (2011). When contemplated in its extreme, almost any power looks dangerous. The commerce power, hypothetically,would enable Congress to prohibit the purchase and home production of all meat, fish, and dairy goods, effectively compelling Americans to eat only vegetables. Cf. Raich, 545 U. S., at 9; Wickard, 317 U. S., at 127–129. Yet no one would offer the “hypothetical and unreal possibilit[y],” Pullman Co. v. Knott, 235 U. S. 23, 26 (1914), of a vegetarian state as a credible reason to deny Congress the authority ever to ban the possession and sale of goods. THE CHIEF JUSTICE accepts just such specious logic when he cites the broccoli horrible as a reason to deny Congress the power to pass the individual mandate. Cf. R. Bork, The Tempting of America 169 (1990) (“Judges and lawyers live on the slippery slope of analogies; they are not supposed to ski it to the bottom.”). But see, e.g., post, at 3 (joint opinion of SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ.) (asserting, outlandishly, that if the minimum coverage provision is sustained, then Congress could make “breathing in and out the basis for federal prescription”).