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Thread: "Necessary and Proper" Clause

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    Article I, Section 8, Clause 18:
    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.
    My US Government teacher in high school would always use this as an end to any argument I would make that a certain policy was unconstitutional... such as excessive "gun control". His assertion was basically that as long as the government can justify that a piece of legislation is "necessary and proper" for the running of government, it could violate other parts of the Constitution because this clause was also in that much-abused document. Surely there is a better way of interpreting this, is there not?

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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.

    The emphasis here should be on 'the foregoing powers' because there is nothing listed in their allowed powers that would permit any type of gun control.

    PS: Notice how the army and navy and the militia are all listed separately here. The people are the militia -- WE are necessary to the security of a free state.


    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 defense 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 a 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 offenses 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, dockyards, and other needful buildings;

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    We live in a Constitutional Republic. Congress is limited in what it can do. The very purpose of the Constitution was to establish checks and balances and limit the power of each branch. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to enumerate the INALIENABLE rights of its citizens as God's creatures. For that matter, the purpose of law is to be slow and cold to save us from our own passions. As "proper" is fluid and a matter of opinion.

    So ANY gun control argument is immediately invalidated due to the Second Amendment's verbiage of "shall not be infringed."

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    Demarest wrote:
    So ANY gun control argument is immediately invalidated due to the Second Amendment's verbiage of "shall not be infringed."
    Amen.

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    Ah, thank you. I did not realize that it specifically referred to the listed powers in Section 8.

    So, then, how are social welfare programs justified using the "Necessary and Proper" clause? Are the listed powers just entirely ignored, or does SCOTUS just use incedibly obscure links to allow it.. such as saying that federal (i.e. national) welfare is necessary to being able to collect taxes?

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Ah, thank you. I did not realize that it specifically referred to the listed powers in Section 8.

    So, then, how are social welfare programs justified using the "Necessary and Proper" clause? Are the listed powers just entirely ignored, or does SCOTUS just use incedibly obscure links to allow it.. such as saying that federal (i.e. national) welfare is necessary to being able to collect taxes?
    Imp,

    That comes from this clause:

    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; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    The key phrase there being the 'provide for the... general welfare of the United States' -- it's one of those other phrases in the Constitution that's been widely debated and interpreted over the years.

    This is where Congress claims its power for enacting most of the laws that it does.

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    Alright, makes sense, er, I understand how it could be construed to make sense. Bah, now if only I could go back to senior year in high school...

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    SNIP Surely there is a better way of interpreting this, is there not?
    Nope. It'll take amending the Constitution. As long as you can interpret it one way, the people in power, as affected by all the influences that go along with being in power, will interpret it to make gov't stronger.

    See a book called Hologram of Liberty by Boston T. Party, available through www.gunlaws.com There is quite a body of evidence that some of the Founders set the Constitution up in order to arrive where we are today.

    Aparaphrase from the 1870's: "Either the Constitution gave us the government we have or it was powerless to prevent it."--Lysander Spooner
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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