2017-01-04 18:40:14 UTC
> On 04/01/2017 00:48, Rudy Canoza wrote:
> > On 1/3/2017 5:34 AM, Alex W. wrote:
> >> On 03/01/2017 09:48, Just Wondering wrote:
> >>>> "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties,
> >>>> Imposts
> >>>> and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and
> >>>> general Welfare of the United States"
> >>> That is the taxing and spending clause. It allows Congress to collect
> >>> money and spend it for limited purposes. It does NOT give the federal
> >>> government power to regulate local education.
> >> As with so much of the constitution, there is plenty of room for
> >> individual interpretation, but IMHO taking a keen interest in education
> >> would certainly fall into the category of "general welfare".
> > No, absolutely *not*.
> > With respect to the two words general welfare, I have always
> > regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with
> > them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a
> > metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a
> > host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
> > James Madison, 1831
> > This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of
> > Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general
> > legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special
> > powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was
> > intended.
> > Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #83
> Those are the private views of some of the founding fathers. They are
> of interest, and illuminating, and may even offer some guidance, but
> they are not gospel. Nor are they law. It would be unwise in the
> extreme to insist on the personal interpretation of some 18th century
> politicians, however worthy, to arrange the affairs of a 21st century
They are the views of
a.) Madison, the main architect of the Constitution and of
b.) Hamilton, the main theorist of the Federalist faction. While
Madison was a protege of Jefferson, and wound up in the nascent
Democratic-Republicans, the Federalists rivals in the "First
Hamilton was wont to support an expansive reading of the powers
of the Federal government, so if he and Madison, who wanted a
stronger central government than the US had under the Articles
of Confederation, but nothing as strong as Hamilton did, could
agree about the meaning, that view was non-controversial.
I would agree that using the "original meaning" interpretation:
what did those words mean at the time they were written, commonly,
or as is the case with legal terms, according to the accepted
meaning as used by courts and legislatures of the time. "Original
intent" is a step away from what was actually voted on.
Imposing contemporary meanings on decades or centuries old documents
is just silly, but people do it. (The "Living Constitution" crowd.)