Re: "When it comes to the Founders' intent, I will take Alexander
Hamilton's views over Mike Lee's."No doubt.But, of course, Hamilton was a radical outlier, one who unapologetically urged
an American monarchy, and nearly unlimited monarchical power, to the end of his
life.Hamilton's view is, though, entirely consistent with
modern American liberal dogma -- anointing a liberal president as
monarch-for-life, with dictatorial power to impose socialism on America, even in
cases in which the large majority of Americans oppose, as in Obamacare, such
imposition.We've come to expect nothing less from liberals, but
real Americans favor Mr. Lee's approach -- actually listening to the voice
of the people.
Excellent letter. The general welfare clause has always proved a stumbling
block to those (e.g. Mike Richards, J. Thompson et al) who argue that this or
that exercise of congressional power is not within the enumerated powers and
therefore not constitutional. I have a question for you: If Art. I, section 8
absolutely limits congressional power to only those specific things enumerated,
then why did the founders find it necesssary or appropriate to include Art. I,
section 9, which specifically denies certain powers to Congress? Wouldn't
that be an exercise in redundancy?
I really liked your rationale and alternate perspective. Thank you for writing
a well-reasoned letter. I also prefer Alexander Hamilton's Constitutional
interpretation to Mike Lee's version.
For the record -- Mike Lee can have all the opinion he wants.BUTHis trampling of the Constitution by use of extortion
[defunded and shutting down the Federal Government] against a law already passed
by the House, and the Senate, and signed by the President and upheld the Supreme
Court is a mockery of not only our Democratic process, but a mockery of the very
Constitution itself.let alone his mis-understanding the General
Great Letter.Alexander Hamilton was a patriot.Mike Lee is
acting like a cartoonish caricature of a patriot.
Good letter, Breck, but my problem with it is that your rationale of
Hamilton's comments would support almost anything that congress deems to be
'general welfare' to be fair game for the federal government to become
involved in. This shoots a big hole in the idea that one of the main purposes
of the Constitution was to maintain a limitation on federal powers.This is similar to how some interpret the feds involvement under the commerce
clause to be so broad.
The specific powers and duties of the U.S. Congress are enumerated in several
places in the Constitution. The most important listing of these powers is in
Article I, Section 8. The last paragraph grants to Congress the flexibility to
create laws or otherwise to act where the Constitution does not give it the
explicit authority to act. This clause is known as the Necessary and Proper
Clause. The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress "To make
all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the
[enumerated] Powers, and all other Powers. It is also sometimes called the
"elastic clause." It grants Congress the powers that are implied in the
Constitution, but that are not explicitly stated. The powers derived from the
Necessary and Proper Clause are referred to as implied powers.The
correct way to interpret the Clause was the subject of a debate between Hamilton
and Jefferson. Hamilton argued for an expansive interpretation of the clause.
Jefferson was concerned about vesting too much power in any one branch of
government. He argued that "necessary" was a restrictive adjective.
Jefferson's interpretation would have strengthened States' Rights.
Washington and Madison favored Hamilton's more flexible interpretation.
What gets considered as an 'enumerated power' is fairly subjective.
There's nothing in the constitution about porn or casinos.
It's very sobering to realize the very same clash of viewpoints about the
role of government was prevalent among our Founding Fathers as we see today. In
effect, the Founders are telling us we need to work it out ourselves.Anyone who claims to speak authoritatively about the intent of the Founders is
probably cherry-picking historic views to support their opinion today. This is
very common, but ultimately it's disingenuous.The Founders
amply demonstrated the way to govern: compromise. If these great Americans were
unable to compromise, there would be no America today. They compromised on
slavery, they compromised on states rights, they compromised on many things,
otherwise the USA would never exist.We need to follow their example,
but many seem unable to realize this.
Excellent letter! And Hamilton's comments clearly show that 'limiting
federal powers' was NOT one of the Founders' intentions. The doctrine
is separation of powers. Which suggests broad powers to be separated.
An absolutely excellent letter. It's refreshing to see some well thought
writing once in awhile.And thanks to DN for apparently allowing this
writer to exceed your normal word limit in letters. Apparently your opinion
editors recognized the value of this one.
Re: "We need to follow their [compromise] example, but many seem unable to
realize this."Yeah, we call them Democrats. Their "my way or
the highway" approach to their lame-duck Obamacare scam will shut down the
government, maybe America.
I am having a hard time seeing how causing employers to reduce their full-time
employees to part-time hours, taxing/fining companies and individuals for
failing to buy a commercial product, turning our medical records over to the IRS
and systematically plotting to destroy privately owned health insurance
companies fits into General Welfare.ACA/Obamacare as passed was
never the will of the majority. It was passed using sophistry and chicanery
theretofore unseen in the congress. As the facts have been exposed to the
public there is an outcry to stop this disaster before it fully unfolds.
Rewriting the law a little at a time will take years, and probably won't
produce any better result than the Internal Revenue code. Stopping funding now
and repealing the law later is the best hope for the US economy and the General
Welfare of the population.Lee, Cruz and the other true conservatives
are doing the right thing.
Excellent letter. I have taught the concepts of the Constitution for over 30
years and find it incredible that Mike Lee ,who claims to know the Constitution,
can be so narrow in his understanding of what Congress can and cannot do. I
give him a vote of no confidence. It is time for him to stop listening to the
tea party and listen to his Utah constituents. Obama Care has been decided.
Stop holding the nation hostage over this and start doing something
@LDS Liberal:"His trampling of the Constitution by use of extortion
[defunded and shutting down the Federal Government] against a law already passed
by the House, and the Senate, and signed by the President..."It's not Lee that's defunding/shutting down the government.
You'll notice the Constitution assigns all money bills to originate in the
House. And the House funded all of the government... except Obamacare... which
the House apparently judged we could do without, since we are in the hole to the
tune of $17 trillion national debt. That is hardly shutting down the
government.And, if the object of Obamacare is to reduce the
nation's healthcare costs, why does it need any funding in the first
place?"... and upheld the Supreme Court, is a mockery of not
only our Democratic process, but a mockery of the very Constitution itself.The Supreme Court did not hold that Obamacare falls under Article 1.8.
In fact, the Court said it didn't. What the court did was merely hold that
a penalty for not getting health insurance can be collected as a tax under the
Congressional taxing authority.
@bill in af 3:03 p.m. Sept. 29, 2013Excellent comment. You are
very, very right. Lee claims to understand the Constitution, but proves every
time he turns around that he doesn't understand what it says, doesn't
understand what it means or understand how it works.----------------------@procuradorfiscal 11:35 a.m. Sept. 29,
2013Actually we call the obstructionists the far right authoritarian
wing of the Republican party. Their "my way or the highway", scam
approach to their lame opposition to the Affordable Care Act will shut down the
government, maybe America.---------------------@No One
Of Consequence 1:16 p.m. Sept. 29, 2013In truth, Lee, Cruz and the
other obstructionists are not true conservatives. They are far right extremist
fringe-dwellers who are NOT doing the right thing for the country and its
citizens. If they don't like what the affordable Care Cast is doing, they
should propose an alternative method of providing universal health care which is
structured the way they deem appropriate. Instead, they are trying to destroy
instead of build. Sad.
@Curmudgeon:"If Art. I, section 8 absolutely limits congressional
power to only those specific things enumerated, then why did the founders find
it necesssary or appropriate to include Art. I, section 9, which specifically
denies certain powers to Congress? Wouldn't that be an exercise in
redundancy?"Good point... and would the author please enumerate
the powers not granted to the federal government but to the states and to the
people (Amendment X)?@watchman:"... but my problem with it
is that your rationale of Hamilton's comments would support almost anything
that congress deems to be 'general welfare' to be fair game for the
federal government to become involved in."Let's see if we
can list a few... - Make possessing and consuming alcoholic
beverages illegal (wait, we did that but it later got repealed). - Make
manufacturing of fatty, sugary foods illegal. - Make eating them illegal,
as well. - Make consuming of 32/64 ounce soda drinks illegal (seems like
that was recently tried). - Make consuming of hard drugs such as cocaine
and marijuana illegal (wait, they now are... but we're working on getting
that changed). - Require everyone to exercise for one hour per day.
James Madison, author of the constitution and the bill of rights:"With respect to the 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.If Congress can apply money
indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the
general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they
may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of
the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of
children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may
undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, every
thing, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute
object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object
I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if
Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare."
Senator Lee did not invent the concept of enumerated powers nor did he write the
10th amendment that limits the authority of Congress to the powers listed in the
8th.James Madison did, as a protection against the unlimited powers
of the monarchy they had just overthrown. He recognized that there were a
certain number of necessary functions of government that could not be performed
by individual states and would require the coordinated efforts of the states at
a federal level. These enumerated powers were the tools the Federal government
was to use to promote the welfare of the country as a whole. Anything else was
reserved to the more local levels of government where individual citizens would
be able to control the excesses of power that are so pervasive at all levels of
government.Hamilton of course disagreed as he was a monarchist and
probably today would be derided as a fat-cat banker. Hamilton and Madison wrote
a series of articles collectively called the Federalist Papers that expound on
those two views of the role of government but both were strong proponents of the
efforts to unify the states under the constitution.
Hamilton and Madison disagreed totally, but both their signatures are on the
constitution. Just shows that Mike Lee can't appeal to the founding fathers
to justify his opinion.
@procuradorfiscal – “But, of course, Hamilton was a radical
outlier,”You know your argument is in deep trouble when your
only remaining tactic is to start throwing founding fathers under the bus.@procuradorfiscal - “Their "my way or the highway"
approach…”And seriously, what is it with conservatives
lately with trying to paint the other side with all their own current tactics.
I’ve I had a dime…
Re: "Obama Care has been decided. Stop holding the nation hostage over this
. . . ."Interesting Democrat argument. The slavery issue was
decided early-on in our history. So anti-slavery Congressional delegations were
"holding the nation hostage" when they attempted to make changes to laws
most Americans recognized as wrong?Modern Democrat leaders are
simply trotting out the same tired, discredited arguments to defend Obamacare,
that their backward-looking Democrat mentors used to defend slavery, Jim Crow,
and denial of women's suffrage.Talk about a one-trick pony.Most American oppose Obamacare, yet Democrat leadership now suggests we
no longer deserve a voice in the discussion, because the issue "has been
decided."Hmmmmm. That tells us a lot about Democrat leadership.
The Obamacare bill was a revenue bill that originated in the Senate.
Unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts changed the "fee" to a
"tax", thus changing the law. Unconstitutional. The Federal gov't
has no authority to force us to buy any product or service under force of a tax
or jail. Unconstitutional.Depending which poll you look at We The People
rejected Obamacare before it passed and now by 65%-80%. Sen. Lee and the House
are doing their job - representing US. We do not want it, we can't afford
it, and it IS unconstitutional. It is a socialist abomination (oops, I repeated
@Tyler D:"You know your argument is in deep trouble when your only
remaining tactic is to start throwing founding fathers under the bus."Bus?? First of all, Founding Fathers didn't have buses. If
they're thrown under something it would have to be... a wagon or buggy."And seriously, what is it with conservatives lately with trying to
paint the other side with all their own current tactics."Which
shows that Conservatives are starting to pick up on what seems to work for
Democrats."I've I had a dime..."What??
Mike Lee and the Republican party's suggestion that a government shutdown
will be the fault of Obama and the Democrats, is like the wicked Witch handing
the poison apple to Snow White and telling her to eat it quick, and then when
she doesn't, blame her in public because it goes rotten.
@Mike in Cedar City:"Mike Lee and the Republican party's
suggestion that a government shutdown will be the fault of Obama and the
Democrats, is like the wicked Witch handing the poison apple to Snow White and
telling her to eat it quick, and then when she doesn't, blame her in public
because it goes rotten."The Democrats are the Queen who drank
the potion turning her into an ugly, scheming, wicked witch. Her (Democrat) aim
being to fool the people into eating rotten, poisoned apples (Obamacare).