October 4, 2014

CONSTITUTIONAL ABUSE



"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

It is a pretty simple statement that is the spirit of all that the Constitution embodies.  The rest of the Constitution goes into greater detail as to the means by which the goals set forth in the Preamble are to be accomplished.

We can better understand the need for the Constitution if we simply read it.  It is primarily geared to limit  governmental powers by clearly defining them and the methods of law by which they are restricted.  Given that the founders saw government as a necessary evil it is rational that they would collude to confine that necessary evil.

If We the People would hope to make changes in the current state of affairs we must first start at the Constitution, how it works and also how it is abused.  Only when we realize its mechanisms and how they are abused can we hope to change the way our government functions and restore a sense of normalcy to our Constitutional Republic.


The government uses many methods to circumvent the confines of the Constitution.  It uses a loose interpretation of specific clauses, Supreme court interpretations and precedents, and even public pressure through misinformation.

Examples of abusive interpretations are the use of the commerce clause, the general welfare clause and the "elastic clause".

The commerce clause is Article 1, Section 8, clause three of the Constitution.  This grants Congress the power to "regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."  The interpretation of this clause is responsible for most of the government's involvement in our lives.  With a broad interpretation of this clause it can sanction theft.  The precedent case for this is Wickard v. Filburn (1942).

The commerce clause was used to subject a farmer to federal regulation for wheat he grew for his own use.  It "adversely effected the market" because had he not grown what for his own consumption he would bought it on the open market.  This was used to force the destruction of his personal wheat and he was ordered to pay a fine.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson on the commerce clause:

"The power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State... which remains exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another state, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes."

James Madison on the commerce clause:

" 'among the several States'... grew out of the abuses of the power by the importing states in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventative provision against the injustice among the States themselves, rather than a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government."


This clearly means that the clause was meant to prevent discriminatory taxes and policies against general commerce among the States.

Another famous clause in the Constitution that is abuse is found in Article I, Section 8 which grants the Congress the power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States."  The interpretation of the general welfare clause has lead to the institution of many policies and programs that could be cleverly worded to be in the interest of the "general welfare" of the people.  This interpretation is in spite of the rest of the section which enumerates the powers to be exercised for the general welfare of the American people.

James Madison
James Madison in Federalist No. 41:

"It has been urged and echoed that the power... amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare... But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?  ...for what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general phrase?"

Thomas Jefferson:

The clause did not authorize Congress "To do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.  To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless."

We still see this interpretation in action today.  It doesn't take great understanding to see that the "PC" world of politics has simply changed "general welfare" to "best interest of the people."  I'm sure you can recall the usage of "best interest of the people" within the last week or so in some great political speech.  Last I checked, the Constitution does not authorize Congress of the President to act for the general welfare of best interest as they see fit.  Rather it enumerates clearly the powers delegated to the central government, Congress and the states respectively.

Article I, Section 8 is again the culprit for abuse of power when it said "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the forgoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any Department of Officer thereof."

The portion "necessary and proper" has been considered by many as the "elastic clause".  Its been used countless times to expand the federal government's power.

Thomas Jefferson:

"The Constitution allows only the means which are "necessary," not those which are merely "convenient" for effecting the enumerated powers.  If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers.  It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed.  Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory."

For and old out dated document, its writers and signers sure foresaw the abuses and problems we face today.  It astonishes me how these supposed constitutional scholars are unable to find such interpretations from the Founders or that they simply neglect to take such interpretations into consideration.

2 comments:

  1. Has the Constitution been effective in restraining Government as it was intended?

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    Replies
    1. Katherine American12/18/16, 12:59 PM

      Yes up until the Government Illegally secretly took out the Glass Seagle Act.

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