Michael Hintze posted an update 4 months, 3 weeks ago
The Constitution of the United States of America establishes the government of the United States, delegates certain powers, and only those powers, to each of three branches of that government, provides for a method by which changes to the Constitution and the government may be made, establishes the relation between the several states and the general government, and circumscribes the government’s powers by guaranteeing the rights of its citizens.
In order to decide whether the government has acted within the powers delegated to it, or has stepped outside the bounds of the limits which circumscribe it, we first must know what powers the Constitution says have been granted to it. Each branch of the general government has certain powers delegated to it by an Article of the Constitution. Article I describes the powers granted to the Congress, Article II describes the powers granted to the President, and Article III describes the powers granted to the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress shall establish.
The most numerous branch of the general government, and the branch to which the Constitution delegates the most powers, is the legislative branch—the Congress. Therefore, let us first examine the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution.
Powers Granted to Congress.
I. All legislative powers are vested in Congress, consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate.
II. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
III. The Senate shall choose their officers other than the Vice President, who shall be its President, and also a President pro tempore; and shall have the sole power to try impeachments.
IV. Congress may at any time by law make or alter regulations for the times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators or Representatives.
V. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.
VI. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
VII. Congress shall have power to:
A. Lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
B. Borrow money on the credit of the United States;
C. Regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
D. Establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
E. Coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
F. Provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
G. Establish post offices and post roads;
H. Promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
I. Constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
J. Define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
K. Declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
L. Raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
M. Provide and maintain a navy;
N. Make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
O. Provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
P. Provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Q. Exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over the District of Columbia, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; and
R. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States.
VIII. Consent to the acceptance by a person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States of any present, emolument, or title from a king, prince, or foreign state.
IX. Consent to a state laying imposts or duties on imports or exports, and all such state laws shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress.
X. Consent to a state laying a duty of tonnage, keeping troops or ships of war in time of peace, entering into an agreement of compact with another state or foreign power, or engaging in war.
XI. Determine the time of choosing presidential electors, and the day on which the electors shall give their votes.
XII. The Senate may consent to the making of treaties, the appointment of ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States not otherwise provided for; and Congress may by law vest the appointment of inferior officers in the President, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
XIII. Determine the place where all crimes not committed within a state will be tried.
XIV. Declare the punishment of treason.
XV. By general laws prescribe the manner in which the acts, records, and proceedings of the several states shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
XVI. Admit new states to the United States.
XVII. Dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States.
XVIII. Propose amendments to the Constitution; call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments; and propose the method of ratification of amendments
XIX. Enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of Amendments XIII, XIV, XV, XIX, XX, XXIII, XXIV, and XXVI.
XX. Lay and collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived
XXI. The House may choose the President when no candidate receives a majority of the electors’ votes in any Presidential election; and the Senate may choose the Vice President when no candidate receives a majority of the electors’ votes in any Vice Presidential election
It is well to point out here that Congress has no power or authority to do anything not covered in the above enumeration of its powers. How then has it come to pass that the federal government has so far outstripped the bounds set for it by the Constitution?
The answer lies in two phrases in the Constitution, which, over time, have been stretched and twisted beyond anything the Founders would recognize, and have taken on meanings never intended by them. The first of these is found in Article I, Section 8, paragraph 1, which reads in part, “The Congress shall have power to …provide for the … general welfare of the United States.” The second is found in Article I, Section 8’s final paragraph, which in turn reads in part, “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers ..”
Those two clauses have done more damage, and created more mischief, than anything else the Founders included in the Constitution.