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Presidents & Congress Ignoring the Constitution - Judge Napolitano

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Published on Oct 30, 2008

Is the government we have today what the founders had in mind?

Everyone in government takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, but few do so. Beginning with John Adams, and proceeding to Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and George W. Bush, congress has enacted and the President has signed laws that have criminalized political speech, suspended Habeas Corpus, compelled support for war, forbade the freedom of contract, allowed the government to spy on Americans without a search warrant, and use tax payer dollars to shore up failing private banks.

All of this legislation is so obviously in conflict with the plain words of the Constitution, that one wonders how Congress gets away with it.

The truth is, that the Constitution grants Congress 17 specific delegated powers, and commands in the 9th and 10th Amendments, that the powers not articulated and thus not delegated by the Constitution to the Congress, must be reserved to the states and the people. What's more, Congress can only use it's delegated powers to legislate for what we call the general welfare. Meaning it cannot spend tax dollars on individuals or selected groups, but only for all of us. And, Congress cannot deny the equal protection of the laws, thus, it must treat similarly situated entities in a similar manner.

It is clear that the framers wrote a constitution, as a result of which, contracts would be enforced, risk would be real, choices would be free and have consequences, and private property would be sacrosanct.

The $700 billion dollar bailout of large banks that Congress recently enacted runs afoul of virtually all these constitutional principles.

Do the people we send to the federal government, recognize any limits on Congress' power to legislate?

Here's my opinion. The don't recognize limits, on Congress' power to legislate. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the size of your toilet tank, the water pressure in your shower, the subjects your children study in school, the manner in which your physician treats you when you are ill, the speed you drive your car, what you can drink before you get in the car, all of these are regulated by the Congress.

Congress has written over 4,000 criminal laws, that make up over one million pages of text. And, the law presumes that we understand all of it.

Does the Congress recognize any limits on it's ability to legislate whatever it wants? Yes, whatever it can get away with.

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