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The Congress shall have 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.
also known as the Elastic Clause, the Basket Clause, the Coefficient Clause, and the Sweeping Clause)
The clause provoked controversy during discussions of the proposed constitution, and its inclusion became a focal point of criticism for those opposed to the Constitution's ratification. While Anti-Federalists expressed concern that the clause would grant the federal government boundless power, Federalists argued that the clause would only permit execution of power already granted by the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton spoke vigorously for this second interpretation in the Federalist Papers as part of his argument for why the federal government required the powers of taxation. At this time James Madison concurred with Hamilton, arguing in Federalist No. 44 that without this clause, the constitution would be a "dead letter". At the Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry took the opposing view, saying that the clause would lead to limitless federal power that would inevitably menace individual liberty.
For several decades after the Constitution was ratified, the interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause continued to be a powerful bone of contention between the Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalist Party, and several other political parties in the United States. The first practical example of this contention came in 1791, when Hamilton used the clause to defend the constitutionality of the creation of the First Bank of the United States
I think this conversation has wandered off the topic somewhat, which is the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and how it modifies and sometimes clashes with the Tenth Amendment.
1. To change in form or character; alter.
2. To make less extreme, severe, or strong: refused to modify her stand on the issue.
3. Grammar To qualify or limit the meaning of. For example, summer modifies day in the phrase a summer day.
4. Linguistics To change (a vowel) by umlaut.
"A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid Federal statute."
1. Well grounded; just: a valid objection.
2. Producing the desired results; efficacious: valid methods.
3. Having legal force; effective or binding: a valid title.
a. Containing premises from which the conclusion may logically be derived: a valid argument.
b. Correctly inferred or deduced from a premise: a valid conclusion.
5. Archaic Of sound health; robust.
“It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines the supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution”
“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”
“This clause [the supremacy clause] is supposed to give too much power, when, in fact, it only provides for the execution of those powers which are already given in the foregoing articles….If Congress, under pretence of executing one power, should, in fact, usurp another, they will violate the Constitution'
The discussion of the "Necessary and Proper Clause" is relevant to a discussion of the Supremacy Clause because they are both now seen to modify the Tenth Amendment, which actually came AFTER the two clauses in the original Constitution.
I would once again like to guide the discussion back to these two clauses and raise the question of how they seem to contradict the very narrow and strict interpretation given to the Tenth Amendment by many people, especially people on these boards.
Most of the responses to my thread seem to ignore some of the very real contradictions and discrepancies in the United States Constitutions.
Instead of simply reciting the popular interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, I would like to discuss some of the nuances and subtleties that are introduced by looking at the two clauses, the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Supremacy Clause, in relation to the Tenth Amendment.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Tenth Amendment was a later add-on to the original document. It does not nullify either the Necessary and Proper Clause or the Supremacy Clause nor replace them.
What this says is that the powers of the Federal government are broader than the strict constructionists would like us to believe. There are many powers given to the states in the Constitution, but they do not trump the power of the Federal Government in every instance.
So the "supreme Law of the Land" can overrule the Constitution, apparently.
Oh I see. Anyone who disagrees with you or your interpretations doesn't truly believe in the Constitution.
What I'm saying is the Constitution is a very complex and sometimes self-contradictory document in places. It not ALWAYS given to easy interpretation (other parts are plain as day).
The Constitution was put together by a group of people, each one of whom had his own ideas and priorities. Some members got more of their beliefs into the Constitution than others. There were many compromises. Probably no one member of the committee was completely satisfied with the results.
The result has been disagreements over the interpretation of parts of the document since the founding fathers.
For example, the original document stated that a slave was 3/5 of a person. This was later altered by the 13th and 14th amendments. There are many other sections which are no longer enforced but have never been formally annulled.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
We have always been a nation where Constitutional issues have been a matter of life and death to many. For example, the felling of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr.
One of the most famous personal conflicts in American history, the Burr–Hamilton duel arose from a long-standing political and personal bitterness that had developed between both men over a course of several years. Tensions reached a bursting point with Hamilton's journalistic defamation of Burr's character during the 1804 New York gubernatorial race in which Burr was a candidate.
The conflict began in 1791 when Burr captured a Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, who would have supported Federalist policies. (Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury at the time.) When the Electoral College deadlocked in the election of 1800, Hamilton's maneuvering in the House of Representatives caused Thomas Jefferson to be named President and Burr Vice President.
On April 24, 1804, a vitriolic letter originally sent from Charles D. Cooper to Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law was published in the Albany Register in the context of opposing Burr's candidacy. It claimed to describe "a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr" at a political dinner. In a letter delivered by William P. Van Ness, Burr demanded "a prompt and unqualified acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expression which would warrant the assertion of Dr. Cooper".
Hamilton's reply on May 20 indicated that he could not be held responsible for Cooper's interpretation of his words. Burr's reply on May 21, also delivered by Van Ness, stated that "political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from the necessity of a rigid adherence to the laws of honor and the rules of decorum". Hamilton replied that he had "no other answer to give than that which has already been given". This letter was delivered to Nathaniel Pendleton on May 22 but did not reach Burr until May 25. The delay was due to negotiation between Pendleton and Van Ness in which Pendleton submitted the following paper:
The delivery of Hamilton's second letter, a second paper submitted by Pendleton further offered "in relation to any other language or conversation or language of General Hamilton which Colonel Burr will specify, a prompt or frank avowal or denial will be given." This offer was not accepted and a challenge was formally offered by Burr and accepted by Hamilton.
In short, the Constitution is a living, changing document. It always has been and always will be. We have to work together on this. As Thomas Paine said, "If we do not hang together we will surely hang separately."
All texts of any length and/or complexity contain ambiguities, contradictions, layers of meaning and etc. The Constitution is no exception.
Q. What are the exact measurements of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution of the United States? A. The Declaration of Independence: 29 7/8 in. by 24 7/16 in.; The Constitution: four sheets, approximately 28 3/4 in. by 23 5/8 in. each.
Q. How many words are there in the texts in the present volume, and how long does it take to read them? A. The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures but not the certificate on the interlineations; and takes about half an hour to read. The Declaration of Independence has 1,458 words, with the signatures, but is slower reading, as it takes about ten minutes. The Farewell Address has 7,641 words and requires forty-five minutes to read.
"the Internal Revenue Code and regulations add up to one million words and is nearly seven times the length of the Bible"
"The income tax code and its associated regulations contain almost 5.6 million words -- seven times as many words as the Bible. Taxpayers now spend about 5.4 billion hours a year trying to comply with 2,500 pages of tax laws...."
"The heart of IRS abuse lies in the existing tax code. Most of the folks who work for the IRS are good people just trying to do their job, but they are caught in a bad, overextended tax system. At 3,458 pages, twice the length of the Bible, it's impossible for the average taxpayer to know, understand, and accurately apply its provisions. The length is twice that of the Bible! Even tax experts cannot do so reliably."
The code is so big that politicians can't even agree on how long it is. Title 26, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code totals to about 3,400,000 million words. The non-partisan Tax Foundation reports that the entire tax code with regulations in 2005 was over 9,097,000 words. To put that in perspective, the Bible has 774,746 words. The code has grown in length between 1995 and 2005 by 18.9 percent. The directions for filing a typical form 1040 totals 161 pages. The "EZ" version is 41 pages.
The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.
However, this is not the forum for discussing textual deconstruction in detail.
To acknowledge the complexity of a document is not to hate it. To see past simplistic black-and-white interpretations is not tantamount to treason.
It appears that anyone who disagrees with your reading is an enemy.
It must be nice knowing it all.
Originally posted by Sestias
reply to post by Locoman8
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Paine may have been admirable abolitionists.
Of course, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both owned slaves. Jefferson fathered a son by one of them, and it is thought by some historians that Washington did also.
The fact is none of the people you mentioned freed the slaves, regardless of their abolitionist leanings.
[edit on 9-8-2010 by Sestias]
It is not clear in the Constitution that the states can dissolve the federal government.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
So why ponder on this if it really means they will just do what they want to?
Originally posted by Sestias
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
What I read in the section of Article V of the Constitution that you cited was that Congress and/or two-thirds of the states can propose AMENDMENTS to that document.
An amendment is not the same thing as a federal government, which the Constitution creates.