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From the Track

Enumerated Powers

Kip Hamilton

(Oct, 2011)  So who knows what was special about the week of September 17-23? No, it was not National Back to School Week or National New Fall TV Series Week… Believe it or not, it was National Constitution Week; a chance to commemorate the adoption of the United States Constitution. So, in observance of said week, I’d like to take a few minutes of your precious time to consider if we really do have a Constitution anymore.

As we’ve said before, the 13 original States were actually considered at the time prior to the adoption of the Constitution as 13 sovereign states…like 13 little, independent countries. They each had their own laws and governments and leaders but what they didn’t have was size and strength. So, these 13 states decided to unite together for their own protection and became the United States of America. Protection of the lives and property of individual citizens was the common characteristic of the Constitution of 1787.

We The People created the federal government. It is our "creature" and has no powers other than those We granted to it in The Constitution. The reality is, Congress is NOT authorized to pass any law on any subject just because a majority in Congress thinks the law is a good idea! It may be, but that is constitutionally irrelevant. Instead, the areas in which Congress is authorized to act are strictly limited and defined ("enumerated") in the very first Article. Article I, Section 8, grants to Congress the powers:

  1. To lay certain taxes;
  2. To pay the debts of the United States;
  3. To declare war and make rules of warfare, to raise and support armies and a navy and to make rules governing the military forces; to call forth the militia for certain purposes, and to make rules governing the militia;
  4. To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the States, and with the Indian Tribes;
  5. To establish uniform Rules of Naturalization;
  6. To establish uniform Laws on Bankruptcies;
  7. To coin money and regulate the value thereof;
  8. To fix the standard of Weights and Measures;
  9. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting;
  10. To establish post offices and post roads;
  11. To issue patents and copyrights;
  12. To create courts inferior to the supreme court; and
  13. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the Laws of Nations.

Well, that’s it, folks. Do you see anywhere in that list any mention of Education, Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Energy or any of the other alphabet soup agencies that roam the bureaucratic landscape of today? Any mention of free healthcare, housing or food being the purview of the Federal Government in there? Of course not. The founders had just gotten away from the tyrannical control of a monarchy and they realized that in a free society, control and representation must be exercised at the local level.

Remember last month we talked about how the Federal Government was created to be a support mechanism for the State Governments? Go back and read down that list again. See how these things the Federal Government is authorized to do by the states are mostly for the benefit of the entire group?

There are those who would attempt to marginalize the Constitution calling it 200 years old or out of step with today’s society and other terms which are intended to make us think that it’s just an old, outdated, yellow piece of paper with no correlation to today’s modern times. Why would they do this?

Because, in fact, the Constitution is not just a quaint collection of thoughts written down by our great-grandfathers’ great-grandfathers…. It is the Law of the Land in America. I imagine those who are trying to transform this country would be greatly inconvenienced if more of our fellow citizens realized the truth.

The truth being that congress has no authority to bail out financial institutions, businesses, and homeowners who don’t pay their mortgages; no authority to take control of our health care; no authority to pass laws denying secret ballots to employees who are solicited for membership by labor unions; no authority to take away your IRA’s and other retirement accounts, no authority to pass laws respecting energy consumption or "emissions", education, housing or anything of the sort.

Therefore, all the laws which Congress has passed on such topics are unconstitutional as they are outside the scope of the legislative powers the people granted to Congress in The Constitution.

So how have they been able to pass these illegal laws and get away with it, you ask? That’s a good question. Some would say that it has been by design that for many years our children have not been taught about the power and authority that the Constitution holds, but rather they have been indoctrinated by the government schools to believe that the power resides in the government, not in the Constitution. So, much like the story of how to boil a frog, over the years, people just didn’t realize what was happening to them and their liberties and have just grown to believe that this is how it’s supposed to be.

But what about education and the other things? Aren’t they important? Shouldn’t the government be involved to keep the children safe? Of course they are important. But they SHOULD NOT be dealt with on a NATIONAL level! Do you think the same educational measures that are taken in New York City schools will be appropriate for use in Wyoming? Or do you think that New York should take care of New York and Wyoming ought to take care of itself? The same goes for food, energy, housing and any other alphabet-controlled area you can think of. According to the Constitution, these are things which are reserved to the States or to the people.

Our Constriction is an inspired document. We really should be using it!

Read other articles by Kip Hamilton