Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"To guard against the assumption of all powers which encroach..."...

Journal of the House of Representatives,
Aug. 3, 1846
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"...That this bill assumes for the federal government the right to exercise this power, cannot, I think, be doubted. The approved course of the government, and the deliberately expressed judgment of the people, have denied the existence of such a power under the constitution. Several of my predecessors have denied its existence in the most solemn forms."
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"The general proposition that the federal government does not possess this power is so well settled, and has for a considerable period been so generally acquiesced in, that it is not deemed necessary to reiterate the arguments by which it is sustained. Nor do I deem it necessary, after the full and elaborate discussions which have taken place before the country on this subject, to do more than state the general considerations which have satisfied me of the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of the exercise of such a power...."
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"It is not questioned that the federal government is one of limited powers. Its powers are such, and such only, as are expressly granted in the constitution, or are properly incident to the expressly granted powers, and necessary to their execution. In determining whether a given power has been granted, a sound rule of construction has been laid down by Mr. Madison. That rule is, that "whenever a question arises concerning a particular power, the first question is whether the power be expressed in the constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed, the next inquiry must be, whether it is properly an incident to an expressed power, and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not, Congress cannot exercise it." It is not pretended that there is any express grant in the constitution conferring on Congress the power in question...."
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(Click on link on th above date to continue article)....

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