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Heard the argument that since much of what the federal government does these days - Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare, you name it - is not within explicitly listed Enumerated Powers in the Constitution, all these programs, as long as they are federal, are unconstitutional. Any truth to it?

-- EDIT --

In the comments there arose a question on the subject of what it means for something to be unconstitutional. Some argue that something is not unconstitutional as long as the courts haven't ruled it is.

Assuming so, in a hypothetical case where someone challenged the aforementioned social programs on the grounds they weren't explicitly given in the Enumerated Powers, what could the courts point to in the Constitution to defend them?

Is it the general welfare clause as mentioned by RWW in the first answer? Could it be something other than the general welfare clause? Are there any specific cases?

11

Yes and no. It really depends on which view of the Enumerated Powers you subscribe to, as there have been differences of opinion on them since their inception. James Madison subscribed to a very narrow view of what the "General Welfare" meant, while Alexander Hamilton's views were more generous. The first Enumerated Powers listed in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution state:

The Congress shall have Power To 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;

There is a lot the federal government does so I can't go over everything "the federal government does these days", but as for the specific programs you mentioned, the government can levy taxes such as Social Security (especially when combined with the 16th Amendment) and under Supreme Court precendent can reapportion those funds raised for what it thinks is the "General Welfare" of the country. However, there have been a number of cases where the Supreme Court has provided different interpretations on what the clause allows. So to answer your question, no, generally the programs can be considered constitutional, although there have been court decisions based on specific details as well as competing statements by Founding Fathers as to what the General Welfare means. So, yes, it's possible they could be considered unconstitutional by experts and not just angry Facebook posters.

EDIT: Based on some of the questions that have arisen from my answer as well as the original question, I'm adding this link from Wikipedia that gives an excellent explanation of the specific part of the Enumerated Powers that we are talking about, as well as a great read on the history of its interpretation.

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    It should be noted that an additional source of expanded government is a wider interpretation of the interstate commerce clause and the budget (i.e. an adjustment if the state doesn't have certain laws). – pboss3010 Nov 28 '18 at 18:24
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    Could you name a specific Supreme Court case where the court defended a federal program of the sorts mentioned in the question (a social program I guess) by means of the general welfare clause? – user75619 Nov 28 '18 at 19:02
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    @user75619 you may want to read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Butler "The clause confers a power separate and distinct from those later enumerated[,] is not restricted in meaning by the grant of them, and Congress consequently has a substantive power to tax and to appropriate, limited only by the requirement that it shall be exercised to provide for the general welfare of the United States. … It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution." – David Rice Nov 28 '18 at 19:11
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    @user75619 Can someone challenge it? Sure, anybody can try to sue the government. The question is - would the courts overturn it, and is there precedent that would lead them to that. Generally, the Supreme Court has taken an expansive view of "general welfare" - likely considering it to be more of a "political question" than a court question. – David Rice Nov 28 '18 at 20:55
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    @user75619 I don't see a problem with Congress being able to tax and spend for the General Welfare, and they get to decide what the General Welfare is. It isn't everyone's interpretation, but it's a valid one, and the Supreme Court seems to use it. The General Welfare clause doesn't contain restrictions on itself, and the enumerated powers are generally agreed to be the only ones Congress can pass laws about that have effects other than taxing and spending. Indeed, it's hard to justify the Air Force Constitutionally without interpreting the Common Defense widely. – David Thornley Nov 28 '18 at 23:45
4

The argument you heard is based on an unwarranted assumption:

...since much of what the federal government does these days - Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare, you name it - is not within explicitly listed Enumerated Powers in the Constitution...

For each program, it is necessary to determine whether the program does fall within the explicitly enumerated powers. Many federal programs, for example, have been found to fall within the explicitly enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce, which is a very broad power indeed. Another broad power is the power to use taxes "to ... provide for the general welfare of the United States."

That any given program was not explicitly laid out in the constitution is no basis to conclude that the program does not fall within the enumerated powers of congress.

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    The supreme court ruled that interstate commerce includes a farmer growing wheat to feed animals on his own farm (Wickard v. Filburn). If you're looking for examples of just how "not explicitly laid out in the constitution" the courts are willing to back up the federal government. – lazarusL Nov 29 '18 at 17:32
  • @lazarusL yes, I was thinking of that but didn't have time to look up the name of the case. Thanks for mentioning it. A better response to the question, though, might be a function of the federal government that is similarly not explicit in the constitution, but uncontroversially within the scope of the interstate commerce clause. Perhaps the regulation of commercial driver's lecenses is such an example. – phoog Nov 29 '18 at 20:48
  • I've down voted this answer for a poor transcription on how the interstate commerce clause has been evolved since ratification. – Drunk Cynic Dec 30 '18 at 20:39
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    Solid answer. These two powers are indeed the source of authority for many functions that conservative legal scholars question as constitutional. – ohwilleke Dec 30 '18 at 21:42
  • @DrunkCynic could you elaborate on that? What is "poor" or lacking? Thanks. – phoog Dec 30 '18 at 22:12
1

Something is not unconstitutional as long as the courts haven't ruled it unconstitutional.

I disagree with this wholeheartedly (on the face of it). If this were the case, nothing would ever be ruled unconstitutional because it was constitutional when it happened and therefore the courts couldn't change that.

Instead we should say that "we don't know for sure if questionable things are unconstitutional until courts rule on them." I would also like to add "...and even then, courts may make a different decision later if we're not lucky."

  • I was paraphrasing Geobits's first comment to my question. Or you mean to say I misrepresented what he said? – user75619 Nov 28 '18 at 20:25
  • @user75619, no, I'm trying to write this answer to address whatever idea I quoted (correctly or incorrectly) in the yellow box. If that's an idea that you don't hold, then this answer isn't against your ideas. – elliot svensson Nov 28 '18 at 20:32
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    @user75619 I didn't exactly say that "it was constitutional when it happened" though. Elliot's second paragraph is more in line with what I meant, whether it came out that way or not. – Geobits Nov 28 '18 at 20:41
1

Is much of what the US federal government does unconstitutional?

As to the title question, yes.

Heard the argument that since much of what the federal government does these days - Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare, you name it - is not within explicitly listed Enumerated Powers in the Constitution, all these programs, as long as they are federal, are unconstitutional. Any truth to it?

Some are, some aren't. Whether a program, or any part of it, is constitutional depends on what is neccessary and proper for carrying into execution a foregoing power (Article I, Section 8, Clause 18).

Consider the licensing of private, non-commercial aircraft pilots operating within one state. There is no explicit conection with any enumerated power; yet all pilots must be licensed and follow FAA regulations because the uncontrolled operation of the aircraft could interfere with the conduct of interstate commerce (the commerce clause) and military flights and overflights of military bases and ports (the Army and Navy clauses). Also, local building codes may be regulated to limit building height, in the vicinity of airports, and require flashing lights atop taller buildings.

In the comments there arose a question on the subject of what it means for something to be unconstitutional. Some argue that something is not unconstitutional as long as the courts haven't ruled it is.

Any law may be unconsititutional the moment it is signed in to law. It is just that it may take a small fortune to challenge the law and see it through all the appeals. Often, the cost cannot justify the expense of doing so.

Assuming so, in a hypothetical case where someone challenged the aforementioned social programs on the grounds they weren't explicitly given in the Enumerated Powers, what could the courts point to in the Constitution to defend them?

It is not the job of the courts to defend governmental programs, that's for the goevernment's lawyers. In UNITED STATES v. BUTLER et al. (297 U.S. 1), Justice (Owen Josephus) Roberts, for the Court, wrote:

There should be no misunderstanding as to the function of this court in such a case. It is sometimes said that the court assumes a power to overrule or control the action of the people's representatives. This is a misconception. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land ordained and established by the people. All legislation must conform to the principles it lays down. When an act of Congress is appropriately challenged in the courts as not conforming to the constitutional mandate, the judicial branch of the government has only one duty; to lay the article of the Constitution which is invoked beside the statute which is challenged and to decide whether the latter squares with the former. All the court does, or can do, is to announce its considered judgment upon the question. The only power it has, if such it may be called, is the power of judgment. This court neither approves nor condemns any legislative policy. Its delicate and difficult office is to ascertain and declare whether the legislation is in accordance with, or in contravention of, the provisions of the Constitution; and, having done that, its duty ends.

Is it the general welfare clause as mentioned by RWW in the first answer? Could it be something other than the general welfare clause? Are there any specific cases?

The general welfare clause is a fiction that resulted from a mistake by Alexander Hamilton and was compounded by Justice Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution. As to the other questions, for social programs, mostly it's abuse of the so-called general welfare clause. I am not aware of any specific challenges to general welfare. For Social Security CHAS. C. STEWARD MACH. CO. V. DAVIS, 301 U.S. 548 (1937), the excise tax was challenged. In The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation—, page 154, "The scope of the national spending power was brought before the Supreme Court at least five times prior to 1936, but the Court disposed of four of the suits without construing the ‘general welfare’ clause. ... Finally, in United States v. Butler, the Court gave its unqualified endorsement to Hamilton’s views on the taxing power."

On May 5, 2012, I posted the following to a usenet thread titled OT: I'm really not anti-American, just fed up with stupidity.... Editing was done to correct spelling, to remove opinion, and to verify and update links. The format is, generally, to quote a source before identifying a point made.


The US Constitution.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 18: "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Article I, Section 1: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

Article II, Section 1: "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

Article III, Section 1: "The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."

Point 1: The Constitution classifies "the foregoing powers" and certain unidentified powers as GOVERNMENTAL powers, and the legislative, executive, and judicial powers as DEPARTMENTAL powers.

Point 2: By definition, a power to make law is a LEGISLATIVE power and applies to Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 and a few other clauses in the Constitution; but not to the foregoing powers.


This is used for reference to the Federalist Papers. (References are abbreviated herein.)

In Fed41 through Fed44, Madison describes his view of the powers.

"That we may form a correct judgment on this subject, it will be proper to review the several powers conferred on the government of the Union; and that this may be the more conveniently done they may be reduced into different classes as they relate to the following different objects: 1. Security against foreign danger; 2. Regulation of the intercourse with foreign nations; 3. Maintenance of harmony and proper intercourse among the States; 4. Certain miscellaneous objects of general utility; 5. Restraint of the States from certain injurious acts; 6. Provisions for giving due efficacy to all these powers." [Fed41]

"THE SECOND class of powers, lodged in the general government, consists of those which regulate the intercourse with foreign nations, to wit: to make treaties; to send and receive ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations; to regulate foreign commerce, ..." [Fed42]

"The SIXTH and last class consists of the several powers and provisions by which efficacy is given to all the rest.
1. Of these the first is, the "power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. ..." [Fed44]

"4. Among the provisions for giving efficacy to the federal powers might be added those which belong to the executive and judiciary departments: but as these are reserved for particular examination in another place, I pass them over in this. We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper for accomplishing the necessary objects of the Union." [Fed44]

Point 3: Madison is consistent with both points 1 and 2, by refering to government, the general government, and federal powers.


Article II, Section 1: "[The President of the United States] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, ..."

Point 4: Madison identifies the power "to make treaties; to send and receive ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; ..." [Fed42] as a GOVERNMENTAL power (See ""THE SECOND class of powers ...", in the previous point).


Hamilton's view is presented, in part, in Fed33.

"The last clause of the eighth section of the first article of the plan under consideration authorizes the national legislature 'to make all laws which shall be NECESSARY and PROPER for carrying into execution THE POWERS by that Constitution vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof"; …" [Fed33]

[NOTE that Hamilton reworded the referenced clause, which though is correct in effect, it obscures the items comprising GOVERNMENTAL powers, that is "the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers".]

"What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the MEANS necessary to its execution? What is a LEGISLATIVE power, but a power of making LAWS? What are the MEANS to execute a LEGISLATIVE power but LAWS? What is the power of laying and collecting taxes, but a LEGISLATIVE POWER, or a power of MAKING LAWS, to lay and collect taxes? What are the proper means of executing such a power, but NECESSARY and PROPER laws?" [Fed33]

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, ..."

Point 5: As one of "the foregoing powers", the power to "lay and collect taxes" is a GOVERNMENTAL power. [Point 1][Fed41] However, Hamilton incorrectly, and without any constitutional basis, identifies it as a LEGISLATIVE power.


"I have applied these observations thus particularly to the power of taxation, because it is the immediate subject under consideration, and because it is the most important of the authorities proposed to be conferred upon the Union. But the same process will lead to the same result, in relation to all other powers declared in the Constitution." [Fed33][Emphasis added]

Point 6: Under Hamilton's view, the GOVERMENTAL power "to make Treaties, ... ; and ... appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, ..." is a LEGISLATIVE power. This is absurd since the House of Representatives does not participate in the making of treaties or appointments and LEGISLATIVE powers are "vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."


[Referring to the 18th clause]
"But SUSPICION may ask, Why then was it introduced? The answer is, that it could only have been done for greater caution, and to guard against all cavilling refinements in those who might hereafter feel a disposition to curtail and evade the legitimate authorities of the Union. The Convention probably foresaw, what it has been a principal aim of these papers to inculcate, that the danger which most threatens our political welfare is that the State governments will finally sap the foundations of the Union; and might therefore think it necessary, in so cardinal a point, to leave nothing to construction. Whatever may have been the inducement to it, the wisdom of the precaution is evident from the cry which has been raised against it; as that very cry betrays a disposition to question the great and essential truth which it is manifestly the object of that provision to declare." [Fed33]

Point 7: Hamilton has no clue why the clause was introduced.


[Referring to the 18th clause]
"Without the SUBSTANCE of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter." [Fed44]

Point 8: Madison knew why it was introduced.


[Referring to the 18th clause]
While no explanation is given, why it was introduced is easily ascertained. Under the Articles of Confederation, the was no separation of powers; that is, the expression "The United States, in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power ..." was the authority. Articles of Confederation

Under the Constitution, powers were separated into three departments. Without the clause, there would be no definite LEGISLATIVE power and that would either make the Constitution a "dead letter" or leave open the interpretation to Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court.

With the clause, the restrictive phase "which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" is a limitation on the authority of Congress to make laws. A clause, in effect, ordered by the people.

One other point, for which I have yet to see any explanation, is the part which states "or in any Department or Officer thereof." The 18th clause is the only place where the authority to make law intersects with the legislative, executive, and judicial powers vested by the Constitution. In effect, this is the sole authority, to make laws governing the legislative, executive, and judicial departments. It follows that the clause is the sole authority to fix the compensation for members of Congress, the President and Vice-President, and Federal judges; to appropriate money to pay that compensation, and to raise revenue to make those appropriations. It applies, as well, to all other expenses (and other laws) for these departments.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story, as DANE PROFESSOR OF LAW IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY wrote his "COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES; ... in 1833. analyses Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, of the Constitution.

"§ 976. But the most thorough and elaborate view, which perhaps has ever been taken of the subject, will be found in the exposition of President Monroe, which accompanied his message respecting the bill for the repairs of the Cumberland Road, (4th of May, 1822.) The following passage contains, what is most direct to the present purpose; and, though long, it will amply reward a diligent perusal. After quoting the clause of the constitution respecting the power to lay taxes, and to provide for the common defence and general welfare, he proceeds to say,

§ 977. 'That the second part of this grant gives a right to appropriate the public money, and nothing more, is evident from the following. considerations: (1.) If the right of appropriation is not given by this clause, it is not given at all, there being no other grant in the constitution, which gives it directly, or which has any bearing on the subject, even by implication, except the two following: first, the prohibition, which is contained in the eleventh of the enumerated powers, not to appropriate money for the support of armies for a longer term than two years; and, secondly, the declaration in the sixth member or clause of the ninth section of the first article, that no money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law. ...'"

It is clear that President Monroe (successor to Madison), having placed the appropriation of money in the first clause, and Justice Story (appointed by Madison), by supporting the claim, did not understand that the sole authority for appropriating money for their own compensation was the 18th clause. Furthermore, neither understood that the first clause is a GOVERNMENTAL power and, since a law is required to make appropriations, only the 18th clause could be used to make such law.

[A thorough reading of his Commentaries reveals that Story never understood Madison's view. This is evidenced by his repeated quotation and subsequent rejection of Madison's comments in favor of Hamilton's.]

Point 9: Presidents and Supreme Court Justices did not understand the Constitution by the 1830's.


United States v. Butler 1936, 297 U.S. 1
"Since the foundation of the Nation, sharp differences of opinion have persisted as to the true interpretation of the phrase. Madison asserted it amounted to no more than a reference to the other powers enumerated in the subsequent clauses of the same section; that, as the United States is a government of limited and enumerated powers, the grant of power to tax and spend for the general national welfare must be confined to the enumerated legislative fields committed to the Congress. In this view, the phrase is mere tautology, for taxation and appropriation are, or may be, necessary incidents of the exercise of any of the enumerated legislative powers. Hamilton, on the other hand, maintained the clause confers a power separate and distinct from those later enumerated, is not restricted in meaning by the grant of them, and Congress consequently has a substantive power to tax and to appropriate, limited only by the requirement that it shall be exercised to provide for the general welfare of the United States. Each contention has had the support of those whose views are entitled to weight. This court has noticed the question, but has never found it necessary to decide which is the true construction. Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries, espouses the Hamiltonian position. We shall not review the writings of public men and commentators or discuss the legislative practice. Study of all these leads us to conclude that the reading advocated by Mr. Justice Story is the correct one. While, therefore, the power to tax is not unlimited, its confines are set in the clause which confers it, and not in those of § 8 which bestow and define the legislative powers of the Congress. It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution."

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

The phase mentioned in the first sentence of the quote from Butler is "to ... provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States". The sharp "differences of opinion", not recognized by the Court, was the distinction between Hamilton's LEGISLATIVE and Madison's GOVERNMENTAL powers.

The assertion attributed to Madison, in the second sentence, is a misunderstanding of Madison and conflation with Hamilton's view. Madison did not consider the first clause to be a LEGISLATIVE power and thus it would not be a "power to tax and spend for the general national welfare"; but rather a GOVERNMENTAL power to tax, qualified by the attached phrases. "But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects [GOVERNMENTAL powers] alluded to by these general terms [common defence and general welfare] immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?" [Fed41] But Madison new that the power to make treaties was also a GOVERNMENTAL power and that it was not in the "same section". "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 power?" [Fed41] In effect, "these and all others", being a reference to powers, maps to "the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof".

Having previously explained my objections to both Hamilton and Story, I will skip to the last sentence which I will rephrase as "It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is limited by the direct grant of legislative power found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, of the Constitution."

Point 10: The Supreme Court didn't understand the Constitution in 1936.


I have yet to see a simple explanation of the term "the common defence and general welfare of the United States", but Madison provides hints. "We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper for accomplishing the necessary objects of the Union." [Fed44] This and other statements suggests, to me, the explanation: The common defence and general welfare of the United States consists of those powers the delegates determined were necessary and proper for cooperation of the states in military and civil matters. This explanation being applicable to both the Constitution and, with the substitution of 'states' for 'delegates', in the Articles of Confederation.

In summary, Alexander Hamilton made a mistake in 1788. James Madison then spent more than 40 years trying to explain what happened in the Second Constitutional Convention and why "to provide for the common defence and general welfare" wasn't a substantive power. A letter dated Nov 27, 1830, to then Speaker Andrew Stevenson, appears to be Madison's last try before his death. Thus by 1830, Congress and the Courts were expanding and, since, continued to expand the powers of government beyond that ever intended by the Constitution.

-7

The vast majority of what the Federal government does is unconstitutional. The point of the constitution was twofold:

  1. Preserve the citizen's individual rights
  2. Chain down the Federal government and keep it from becoming the behemoth that it's become.

It's ironic that the first nation to be founded on the idea of a small limited government somehow grew into the largest bureaucracy the globe has EVER seen. Through the creation of Executive, alphabet agencies the creation of law has largely been usurped from Congress. The Constitution places all law making power in the hands of Congress, with limited jurisdiction in certain areas. All other areas of jurisdiction is to fall to the states. (See the 10th Amendment)

By creating executive agencies like the BLM, or BATF that can just write regulations(which have the same force of law behind them as actual 'Laws' have) with little or no oversight from Congress this effectively does an end run around the Constitution in 2 ways:

  1. It allows these agencies to cross over into the realm of jurisdictions preserved for the states under the 10A
  2. It circumvents Congress.

Many other areas of the Constitution have been usurped as well, but I can't possibly list them all, but look at Article 1 section 8: I am referring to the part that basically says that Congress can only fund a standing army for a period of 2 years during times of war. We have been taxed to maintain a standing army for well over 100 years now. NOBODY in D.C. even discusses this or the 10th Amendment, because they all know, what I am talking about.

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” - James Madison

Another large issue is the 17th Amendment and the fact that it was never properly ratified and how it ties into the Revolutionary War and Congress' power to coin money. In essence our entire banking system is unconstitutional.

"The refusal of King George to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from clutches of the money manipulators was probably the prime cause of the revolution" - Benjamin Franklin

I could go on and on about all the usurpations of the Constitution, but will throw only one last thing in: Rights as protected under the Bill of Rights are supposed to be unalienable. When you have to obtain a permission slip from government to exercise a right, that right has been reduced to a privilege.

For example: the requirement by local authorities in many areas to obtain a permit to peaceably assemble/protest. In this case as well as many other examples I could give, your right has been usurped. In this case the 1st Amendment just got reduced to a privilege. We could go right down the list of the Bill of Rights and find examples of how they have been reduced to privileges.

To even argue that the Federal government hasn't completely busted the chains of the Constitution, would be a fool's errand.

  • 2
    Currently, this answer is hard to follow. – Alexei Dec 30 '18 at 9:31
  • There is a lot of misbuilt ramble in this answer, wondering around the crumbs of a decent answer. – Drunk Cynic Dec 30 '18 at 18:44

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