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Dave Weigel reports that even though the Republican House requires all bills to identify their constitutional justification, members still feel they can legislate on whatever they want.
The Constitutional Authority Statements filed so far in the 112th Congress tend to support that view. They’re a fascinating exercise. More than 1,200 pieces of legislation have been introduced so far in this Congress, slightly more coming from Republicans than from Democrats, and all of them are accompanied by statements. The main lesson is the same that a lot of legal cynics predicted last year: Almost anything can be justified by citing the Commerce Clause, which allows Congress “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes” or the Necessary and Proper Clause, which allows Congress to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) gives Weigel a smart quote that cuts to the essence of this: “Just the mere fact that they start these discussions, that’s helpful. The extent to which they turn out to be helpful will turn on how much actual analysis takes place, because there are ways of taking the Commerce Clause and making it apply to everything. That’s not new. If that’s all that happens, then this isn’t going to do much.”
As is the case with the Obamacare lawsuits, it is crucial to reintroduce the doctrine of enumerated powers into the mainstream political debate. Otherwise, this is all symbolism.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?