From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance
In every new Congress since 1995, Rep. John Shadegg has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act (HR 1359) which would require Congress to cite specific constitutional authority for every part of every piece of legislation.
His bill is predicated on the 10th Amendment, which says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.”
Naturally, since Congress refuses to bother with constitutional restraints, the bill has languished for 12 long years, despite the fact that Shadegg’s bill is perfectly in line with the thinking of the Founders.
For instance, James Madison pointed out that the Constitution reserved only “few and defined” powers to the federal government, while the states retained powers that were “numerous and indefinite.” He declared that the Founders had established a form of government in which the powers of the federal government would principally involved “external objects,” such as “war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”
Speaking of the “general welfare” clause, which fans of big government use to defend massive federal programs, Thomas Jefferson said, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” (Emphasis added.)
In other words, the federal government’s contribution to the “general welfare” of the Republic was in confining itself to the specific and well-defined role the Constitution reserved to it. There is simply no warrant in the Constitution for perhaps 2/3 of what the central government does.
Perhaps while we harangue our senators to give us judges who will respect the original intent of the Constitution, we should insist that they do the same.
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