Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All Legislation Must Cite Constitutional Authority

Any student of the US Constitution knows that the Tenth 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.
Unfortunately, this simple but essential separation of powers and check on those powers is all but forgotten. Between an ever-expanding Federal bureaucracy that for decades has crept into many facets of traditionally locally controlled government to a Federal judiciary that time and time again completely ignores the intent of the Tenth Amendment, the Federal government has become wildly inefficient, expensive, and hostile to State and individual rights.

New Jersey's Congressman Scott Garrett has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives Tuesday that would require all legislation to cite an enumerated power in the Constitution that grants authority for the bill’s mandate.

Garrett’s resolution will prohibit members from manipulating the more ambiguous “general welfare clause” and “necessary and proper clause” and instead require members to isolate specific provisions which make their proposals Constitutional.

The resolution is the direct result of the American people’s cry for Congress to restore the preeminence of the Constitution in law-making and does that by, as the rule would say, passing a non-waivable rule that would require every bill and amendment to have a citation of the specific authority in the Constitution.

Most the federal legislation, regulations, programs, policies, agencies, and debt are excellent examples of the nation's desperate need for Garrett's proposed change in legislative process.

Current practice is for Congress to almost entirely ignore the precious principles of the Constitution and cede the decision of constitutionality to the courts who also ignore or twist the Constitution far too often. This legislative attitude imposes the heavy expense of constitutionality litigation on the States and the people, violates each congressman's solemn oath to the Constitution, and is an egregious betrayal of the people's trust.

Garrett's proposed House Rule is a worthy step in the right direction. I am deeply saddened that nobody in the Senate seems to have the courage, integrity, and respect for the Constitution to introduce a similar resolution in the Senate. I urge every congressman to join this movement and ensure that this rule is immediately implemented in both chambers of Congress.

I also urge Congress to take this a step further and work for immediate enactment of the Enumerated Powers Act to make the intent of Garrett's proposal a permanent part of our legislative process.

In addition to Congressman Garrett's resolution to cite an enumerated power in the Constitution that grants authority for a bill’s mandate, Congress should also adopt a resolution requiring that all new or expanded laws, rules, policies, programs, and agencies have a maximum 10-year sunset.

The overwhelming abuses and cost of the federal government be resolved if Congress would conduct an audit of all laws, rules, policies, programs, and agencies followed by legislation to phase out all laws, rules, policies, programs, and agencies which are outside the limits placed on the federal government by the US Constitution.

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