Latest Blog Post – Enumerated Powers
What exactly are Congress’ enumerated powers? What do they mean? What do they not mean? Where can we find them?
Let’s take the last question first. Where can we find Congress’ enumerated powers. Well, they can be found in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. There 18 enumerated powers there that the states delegated to the federal government when the Constitution was written.
What do Congress’ enumerated powers NOT mean? In a nutshell, the enumerated powers do not mean that Congress can pass any law they can dream of. Which is what many people think that Article VI Clause 2 (Supremacy Clause) of the U.S. Constitution means where it states that laws passed “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” They often leave out the preceding wording before that which is “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…”. The part that states “under the authority of the United States” refers to the authorities granted by the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.
You would think most people would read the Constitution in the order in which it was written, but doing so would thwart the ambitions and workings of the usurpers.
Because we will discuss what the enumerated powers mean. In putting the Constitution together, the Founding Fathers, and the states they represented, wanted to create a central government with very limited powers. Always keep that in mind. The federal government is NOT a party to the agreement between the states. It is a PRODUCT of the agreement between the states. Meaning the states are the sovereign of the federal government, and the citizens are the sovereign of the states. By enumerating (listing) powers the people, via their state governments, delegated to the federal government, those powers that were NOT enumerated (listed) were reserved for the states, and the people. In plain language, if an authority is not listed (enumerated) in Article I, Section 8, it is not “under the authority of the United States” as stated in the Supremacy Clause. So, if Congress passes a law outside of its enumerated powers, it means two things:
1) It is unconstitutional. Period.
2) it also means that since it is outside of Congress’ powers delegated by the states, it cannot be “the Supreme Law of the Land.”
Let’s now look at a recent bill that cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate – H.R. 8404, Respect For Marriage Act. This bill, which already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, seeks to codify, or turn into law, same-sex marriage protections derived from the U.S. Supreme Court’s erroneous 2015 decision in the Obergefell v Hodges decision. For the same reasons why Roe v Wade was overturned in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision earlier this year.
Laws governing marriage, much like laws governing abortion are not an enumerated power the states delegated to the federal government. Congress (specifically the House of Representatives) stated it has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following authorities: Article IV, Section 1; Fifth Amendment, Section 5; Fourteenth Amendment, Section 5; Article I, Section 8, Clause 18. Only one of those is Congress enumerated powers and there is no mention of marriage in Clause 18 at all. It is also only through Article I that grants Congress the authority to pass laws. The Amendments can be listed all they want, Article I is where Congress derives its authority.
Clause 18 is the most abused enumerated power in the Constitution. It is called the “necessary and proper clause” which is by itself a very open ended term that tyrants love to abuse. Notice I stated “by itself”, because there are words that precede “necessary and proper” that the usurpers do not want the sovereigns (We the People) to know are there.
Here is Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 in its entirety – “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.”
What do you think is overlooked, on purpose, in that wording? Pretty obvious when you remember that the Constitution is written to LIMIT government. If the Founding Fathers and the states wanted to give the federal government UNLIMITED authority, the would have left out the word “foregoing” powers in this necessary and proper clause. So, in plain language again, the states delegated the federal government all the necessary and proper powers to make laws for the United States of America in preceding (foregoing) 17 clauses. Its LIMITED power. I can guarantee you that you will not find the word “marriage” in the preceding 17 clauses. That means it was a power reserved (kept) by the states, and the people, respectively.
To clear up all the confusion around the enumerated powers and Supremacy clause of the constitution – which was ratified in 1789, the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) were ratified a mere two years later in 1791.
The final amendment in the Bill of Rights, meaning it will be the last thing read (or the final word on the matter), is the 10th Amendment. That amendment states – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The amendment reinforces, or restates that any power NOT listed in the enumerated powers clause belongs to states and people. The 10th Amendment could be called the Peoples’ Supremacy Clause.
So when Congress tries to pass a law that is not within its plain language enumerated power it is unconstitutional, and cannot be the Supreme Law of the Land. I urge you all to read the Constitution and truly understand what it states. If you cannot understand the meaning, read the Federalist Papers for a clearer understanding. Quit relying on modern interpretations by SCOTUS. It is the third branch of the government, and the examples of government limiting itself are few and far between. Read what the framers of the constitution meant and you will see that the federal government is lying to you when it slaps a Constitutional Authority Statement on its “pretended legislation.”