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The Enumerated Powers of Congress

Van

Heavy Weapons Guy
V.I.P.
Section. 8.

The Congress shall have 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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

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.
http://http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

The constitution is not a living document. It was not meant to be reinterpreted just because times have changed. The founders provided a mechanism to allow the document to adapt to new times: Amendments. Yet we don't hear much about trying to pass these on a federal level today. Legislators simply circumvent this by passing laws that are clearly unconstitutional knowing that partisans in the courts will back them not based on law but on party affiliation. This seems to happen no matter who is in power.

Yet here we are today with all of these unconstitutional laws and programs

Social Security
Medicare
Obamacare
EPA
FDIC
Gun laws
Antitrust laws
Any executive order
Undeclared wars

to name a few. Whether or not you agree that we should have these in our society, there should still have been amendments to make them legal. One that everyone likes to bash as unconstitutional is the income tax. But whether or not you agree that we need the income tax, it was done legally, by passing the 16th amendment.

Discuss
 
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SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Yes, I agree. The federal government have way overstepped their bounds and need to be reigned in. I hope we start down that path this November.
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
You'll find this kind thinking followed Supreme Court decisions like Helvering v. Davis, Wickard v. Filburn, US v. Darby Lumber amongst others, that not only Congress but the citizenry accepted the circumvention of the Constitution so long as you agreed with what was being passed. It's sad it has come down to this. It seems many of the predictions made by the "four horses of the apocalypse" have come true.
 

dnno1

Registered Member
You all have the wrong premise in mind. The Constitution is a living document. If it were not they wouldn't have had a provision for it to be amended. Secondly, the official interpretation of the Constitution was intrusted in the Supreme Court. Federal laws that established institutions such as Social Security, Medicare, the EPA, the FDIC, our gun and anti-trust laws, as well as many executive orders and undeclared wars have been held up as constitutional. To say that they are not is just one's opinion, but not fact.
 
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CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
I don't think anyone argued that it can't be amended, the idea is that it shouldn't be interpreted differently based on political whim. By your logic if the administration declared it legal to torture citizens when they are arrested to get confessions out of them AND the Supreme Court upheld it, reinterpreting the due process clause, then it would not violate the constitution and we should all just learn to live with it, right? Basically then when the SCOTUS held in Plessy v. Ferguson that "seperate but equal" did not violate the Constitution and Brown was a bad decision then, correct? Afterall, the SCOTUS held it to be constitutional and according to you, they can't be wrong, right?
 
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dnno1

Registered Member
I don't think anyone argued that it can't be amended, the idea is that it shouldn't be interpreted differently based on political whim. By your logic if the administration declared it legal to torture citizens when they are arrested to get confessions out of them AND the Supreme Court upheld it, reinterpreting the due process clause, then it would not violate the constitution and we should all just learn to live with it, right? Basically then when the SCOTUS held in Plessy v. Ferguson that "seperate but equal" did not violate the Constitution and Brown was a bad decision then, correct? Afterall, the SCOTUS held it to be constitutional and according to you, they can't be wrong, right?
Van002 stated that the "Constitution is not a living document" citing (I guess) Article I, Section 8, so (maybe not you or I, but) someone did argue that. Just for the record, Article V grants Congress and the States the power to amend the Constitution based on certain rules. Now for the second argument, it is apparent that the Constitution due to the fact that the power to interpret it is granted to the SCOTUS by the same implies that rulings could change or be overturned over time should the case arise. Whether that interpretation is based on a political agenda or ideology or not is not excluded since the Constitution does not delineate how or when it should be done so. In a perfect world, we would all like to see the SCOTUS rule on laws in a manner in which you say, but it doesn't always come out that way. As far as your torture law scenario goes, we all know that your scenario is unconstitutional, but once again, the SCOTUS would be the final authority and what they said would be the way the law would be interpreted until it was changed by Congress. It does not seem likely that they would rule that way based on the history of the court, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be possible.
 
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CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
He did say it wasn't a living document, the accepted meaning of it being a living document means it should be interpreted as it was intended. Those that subscribe to the original intent do not consider it a living document but accept the fact that it can be amended, as he stated in the OP. The second point is just because the SCOTUS deems something Constitutional does not mean that the citizenry has to agree with it. I consider Social Security unconstitutional and disagree with Helvering, as do those that dissented. Just because Congress passes a law and 5 out of 9 justices find it so, does not mean I have to agree with it, and I can call for the president to appoint justices that agree with that. That's the point of the OP. Pointing out that the SCOTUS found Social Security constitutional is irrelevant to the opinion expressed in the OP.
 
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dnno1

Registered Member
He did say it wasn't a living document, the accepted meaning of it being a living document means it should be interpreted as it was intended. Those that subscribe to the original intent do not consider it a living document but accept the fact that it can be amended, as he stated in the OP. The second point is just because the SCOTUS deems something Constitutional does not mean that the citizenry has to agree with it. I consider Social Security unconstitutional and disagree with Helvering, as do those that dissented. Just because Congress passes a law and 5 out of 9 justices find it so, does not mean I have to agree with it, and I can call for the president to appoint justices that agree with that. That's the point of the OP. Pointing out that the SCOTUS found Social Security constitutional is irrelevant to the opinion expressed in the OP.
A living document is that which can be amended or updated over time as needed. Now the concept of a "Living Constitution" means that said document can be re-interpreted (the concept is also known as loose constructionist) as society's values change, but that is not what Van002 wrote. Unless you are a pragmatist and want to change the meaning of the phrase, the Constitution is a living document.
 
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CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
According to YOUR definition, the most common definition of the Constitution bring a "living document" is that it will be reinterpreted as you go. The OP CLEARLY recognizes that the Condtitution can be amended, so really this is going nowhere since nothing said has refuted his statements.
 

dnno1

Registered Member
According to YOUR definition, the most common definition of the Constitution bring a "living document" is that it will be reinterpreted as you go. The OP CLEARLY recognizes that the Condtitution can be amended, so really this is going nowhere since nothing said has refuted his statements.
That's wrong. You should look up the definition of the two terms.
 
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