"Enumerated Powers Act"

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by I Am Blessed 24, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    ISSUE: Do you think government has grown too big? Ever wondered why, and how we can reverse that trend? Here's your answer.

    The powers of the Federal Government are "enumerated" -- that is, they are listed in the Constitution. All legal Federal powers must appear there. Anything that isn't listed in the
    Constitution as a lawful function of the Federal government is beyond the power of the Federal government. Most of the time, however, our federal government goes outside the bounds
    of their constitutional authority.

    At least one Congressman wants to change that. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has introduced HR 384, the "Enumerated Powers Act," which would do one simple thing: it would require that every new law cite exactly what part of the Constitution
    authorizes it.

    This measure will force a re-examination of the role of the national government and will fundamentally alter the ever growing reach of the federal government. For too long, the federal government has operated without constitutional
    restraint, only limiting itself by budgetary concerns. In doing so, it has created ineffective and costly programs, massive deficits year after year, and a national debt totaling more than $5 trillion. The Enumerated Powers Act will help slow the flood of unconstitutional legislation while assisting Congress in its re-examination of the proper role of government.

    As Rep. Shadegg said, "Our Founding Fathers believed the grant of specific rather than legislative powers to the national government would be one of the central mechanisms for protecting our freedoms while allowing us to achieve the objectives best accomplished through a national government. One of the most important things Congress can do is to honor and abide by the principles embodied in the Constitution -- no more, no less.

    Respecting the Tenth Amendment is the first way to ensure that the genius of the Constitution and its division of power between the national government, the states, and the people continues to guide our nation."

    ACTION ITEM: You would think that everyone would support something so basic, yet this bill has died at least four times previously, with fewer co-sponsors each time. Is Congress afraid that they won't be able to find any Constitutional authority for some of their laws?

    It's time to hold our elected Representatives accountable, and demand that they support this effort to force Congress, in every bill, to cite to the authority in the Constitution that gives them the power to enact the law. Go to our site
    below to send your Congressman a FREE message, asking him or her to support HR 384, the "Enumerated Powers Act":

    CLICK HERE TO WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN

    [ June 26, 2003, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: I Am Blessed 16 ]
     
  2. Matt Black

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    Sue, presumably you would also be in favour of the repeal of the post-9/11 federal laws that restricted civil liberties in the name of 'Homeland Security'?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    I think that's a great idea but I'd go one step further.

    I'd make them justify the Constitutionality of their bills.
     
  4. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    Matt: I would not want anything repealed that protected our country.

    Mike: That's a good idea. When you write your congressman about this...add that! :D
     
  5. stubbornkelly

    stubbornkelly
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    Even if its existence de facto violates the Constitution, Sue, and if the results of its being enacted directly violate the Constitution? Seems you might want to think a little more about your support of this bill.
     
  6. Matt Black

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    That's exactly my point. I also find it odd that those who wish to restrict the activities of government perform a sort of U-turn involving all sorts of mental gymnastics when they do want the government to intervene, whether it be in the alleged interests of national security or to regulate what people do in their bedrooms.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. Johnv

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    The enumerated powers, while expressed in the Constitution, are interpreted by the courts, not the legislators.

    In effect, what Rep. Shadegg wants to do is require you to call the pocket before making the shot. There's no Constitutional requirement for this. Can you imagine attempting to introduce a bill to allow u-turns, and having to list where in the Constitution you're allowed to make such a law?
     
  8. Mike McK

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    Yes, I can. If you can't justify a law Costitutionally, why are you trying to pass it in the first place?
     
  9. Johnv

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    You mean, like the partial birth abortion ban that was recently passed? Had this been a requirement, it would not have been passed.

    Deciding the Constitutionality of a law is the job of the Courts. It's that "separated powers" thing.
     
  10. KenH

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    Ultimately, that is true. But maybe we could head off some of the outright, clearly unconstitutional laws before they get to the courts.
     
  11. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    stubbornkelly,

    Even if its existence de facto violates the Constitution, Sue, and if the results of its being enacted directly violate the Constitution? Seems you might want to think a little more about your support of this bill.

    I am mystified how a provision that requires Constitutional justification for legislation could possibly violate that very Constitution.


    The problem I've got with it is that politicians are ever slick and will find something slippery to attach their bills to, such as the general welfare clause although James Madison already defeated that tactic in his argument in the Federalist (I forget which number, 46?) and his argument against the Constitutionality of the National Bank (although of course he lost that debate).


    Johnv,

    The enumerated powers, while expressed in the Constitution, are interpreted by the courts, not the legislators.

    Are you suggesting that the legislature should not consult the document framing our government before attempting to pass laws and budgets? I agree with the Court's authority to interpret the Constitution but surely there is nothing wrong with requiring the legislature to determine for themselves whether they are acting under the very Constitution they are sworn to uphold. We're not talking about the Constitutionality of a law, we're talking about making representatives seek to justify their legislation before they become laws. No one has suggested that this would have any final authority as to Constitutionality.

    The partial birth abortion law is easy. The Court in Roe v. Wade refused to address the personhood of the unborn and thus whether they are protected under the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment's protection of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, not to mention Roe's very language allowing regulation of abortion after viability.
     
  12. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    Before this discussion get too obscure for those of our readers who are not conversant with the U.S. Consititution or have a copy readily available to them, here are the sections being refered to
     
  13. fromtheright

    fromtheright
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    Squire Robertson,

    Thanks for the references as they (especially the Tenth Amendment) are the gist of our arguments here, but I would also note that Article I, Section 8 is what actually enumerates the powers of Congress.
     
  14. stubbornkelly

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    No, no. Sorry if it wasn't clear. [​IMG] I was speaking of things such as the Patriot Act. I find it curious that one who would support the propsed bill would also support something like the Patriot Act.
     
  15. fromtheright

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    stubbornkelly,

    I disagree with you on a lot of issues but that's an excellent question that I don't have a good answer for. I would like to argue it under a broad "common defense" power but that presents the same fallacy that I criticize when all manner of welfare state proposals are justified by the "general welfare" clause. Besides "common defense" in the Preamble isn't a power, it is a summary of the enumerated powers, which simply includes supporting an army and navy. I also can't find it in the Interstate Commerce clause, which comes the closest to such interstate powers but is just that, commerce-regulating. Perhaps it could be argued in some international law principle as the right of nations to defend themselves.
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Yes, the Patriot Act would not have been passed if the proposed Enumerated Powers Act had been in force, since the PA arguably violates several constitutional amendments. I can't see how you can be pro-both - bit of a dilemma for the Right, aint it?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt (Limey, so why should I care if you rip up your constitution?)
     
  17. baptistteacher

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    I think this would be a good step toward restoring Constitutional order to our laws.

    And - I do not support the so-called "Patriot Act".

    The new "Privacy Laws" and the "Patriot Act" are doing 2 things
    1. Making it harder for you to get access to your own information.
    2. Making it easier for "Big Brother" to get your information. :(
     
  18. Gina B

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    Under "our government" I've posted the constitution and other things, will improve it soon. I'd urge everyone to read it wherever and be familiar with it.
    True, the states to have power to go into more "detail", but all of the states law must cooperate with the federal laws, and the federal laws cannot be unconstitutional.
    There's no reason why laws cannot be required to be referenced to the constitution. It's vague enough in all areas that all will be able to find a section of the constitution or it's ammendments to point to and say "this belongs in this category", or "is an extension of this category". Might take a little extra thought, but...it would save a lot of money if passed with people trying to prove how something is unconstitutional if it's already been spelled out that it is.
    Gina
     

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