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Did the founding fathers intend _____________?

dstebbins

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I find a lot of these threads on this site. I haven't posted in one yet, but let me give you my two cents on each and every one of them.

The Founding Fathers intended to set up a system of government that would change over time on demand. That's why they made the Constitution so vague. Sure they would approve of and dissaprove of different laws, but they would allow all of them to pass without bitching about it like some people because they intended for the government to flex. If they wanted to preserve their intentions, they would have made the Constitution as rigid as a rock.

Conclusion: The Founding Fathers would be behind the current government no matter what, even if it was repealing one of the first amendments. I believe this because they would approve it as long as it had to support to happen. The founding fathers were wise men, and they understood the corruption that their government would one day face. That's why they made the Constitution so difficult to amend and yet not impossible.

Okay, I'm done ranting.
 

mike49

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dstebbins said:
I find a lot of these threads on this site. I haven't posted in one yet, but let me give you my two cents on each and every one of them.

The Founding Fathers intended to set up a system of government that would change over time on demand. That's why they made the Constitution so vague. Sure they would approve of and dissaprove of different laws, but they would allow all of them to pass without bitching about it like some people because they intended for the government to flex. If they wanted to preserve their intentions, they would have made the Constitution as rigid as a rock.

Conclusion: The Founding Fathers would be behind the current government no matter what, even if it was repealing one of the first amendments. I believe this because they would approve it as long as it had to support to happen. The founding fathers were wise men, and they understood the corruption that their government would one day face. That's why they made the Constitution so difficult to amend and yet not impossible.

Okay, I'm done ranting.
I agree that the founding fathers would be over-joyed that what they created still exists. I'm unsure that they would be over-joyed with everything that has occured.

The constitution should be interpreted expansively. It must deal with changing circumstances, but that should relate to enumerated powers. The idea that the federal government should assume power, on it's own, "flex" as you put it, I think not.

A constitution is supposed to be rigid. It is the purpose of a constitution to be rigid. The idea of making it hard to change is because they did not want government to "flex". You seem to pick the easy way out and put forth that it is so hard to change because they wanted government to do as it pleases. To do on it's own that which is so difficult to get permission for. That turns upside down the whole concept.

The constitution is not vague. It's enumerated powers are not vague.
 

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Conclusion: The Founding Fathers would be behind the current government no matter what, even if it was repealing one of the first amendments.
If the "current government" were a product of amendment, rather than unsupportable court rulings and outright usurpation of power, you'd be right.

Do you think the Founders would agree to the Fed Gvmnt having the power to force a wheat farmer to sell his crop? Or that law-abiding citizens bedbenied their right to arms? Or that The fed Gvmtn is responisble for providing poor people with medication? No. Not even close.

The founders believed that government existed to protect the rights of its people; anything that the government does beyiond that point they would look unkindly upon.
 

dstebbins

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mike49 said:
The constitution is not vague. It's enumerated powers are not vague.
I agree that most of the enumerated powers are not vague, but take, for example, the necessary and proper clause. "Congress shall have the power to make all laws that are necessary and proper." Basically, this means that the government can do anything it wants that is not in conflict with the rest of the Constitution, as long as the times demand it.

Example: Welfare. I agree that the Founding Fathers object to lazy people sitting on their ass doing no work and waiting for a welfare check, but I doubt they object to the government helping out the poor. Yet the government did not institute the Welfare program until the Great Depression, because it was not necessary until then. The government is using its flexibility, and that's what the Founding Fathers set up.
 

mike49

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dstebbins said:
I agree that most of the enumerated powers are not vague, but take, for example, the necessary and proper clause. "Congress shall have the power to make all laws that are necessary and proper." Basically, this means that the government can do anything it wants that is not in conflict with the rest of the Constitution, as long as the times demand it.

Example: Welfare. I agree that the Founding Fathers object to lazy people sitting on their ass doing no work and waiting for a welfare check, but I doubt they object to the government helping out the poor. Yet the government did not institute the Welfare program until the Great Depression, because it was not necessary until then. The government is using its flexibility, and that's what the Founding Fathers set up.
The necessary and proper clause is not a license to do what government deems necessary and proper outside of it's enumerated powers. Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland stated this:

''let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.''

"Even without the aid of the general clause in the constitution, empowering congress to pass all necessary and proper laws for carrying its powers into execution, the grant of powers itself necessarily implies the grant of all usual and suitable means for the execution of the powers granted."

"Congress is authorized to pass all laws 'necessary and proper' to carry into execution the powers conferred on it. These words, 'necessary and proper,' in such an instrument, are probably to be considered as synonymous."

"Necessarily, powers must here intend such powers as are suitable and fitted to the object; such as are best and most useful in relation to the end proposed. If this be not so, and if congress could use no means but such as were absolutely indispensable to the existence of a granted power, the government would hardly exist; at least, it would be wholly inadequate to the purposes of its formation."
 

dstebbins

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mike49 said:
The necessary and proper clause is not a license to do what government deems necessary and proper outside of it's enumerated powers. Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland stated this:

''let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.''

"Even without the aid of the general clause in the constitution, empowering congress to pass all necessary and proper laws for carrying its powers into execution, the grant of powers itself necessarily implies the grant of all usual and suitable means for the execution of the powers granted."

"Congress is authorized to pass all laws 'necessary and proper' to carry into execution the powers conferred on it. These words, 'necessary and proper,' in such an instrument, are probably to be considered as synonymous."

"Necessarily, powers must here intend such powers as are suitable and fitted to the object; such as are best and most useful in relation to the end proposed. If this be not so, and if congress could use no means but such as were absolutely indispensable to the existence of a granted power, the government would hardly exist; at least, it would be wholly inadequate to the purposes of its formation."
dude, I don't understand all that gobbledegook!

But anyway, then explain why the Constitution has been amended only twenty-seven times. If the Constitution is as rigid as you say it is, then how can it be so easy to change with the times without amendments?
 

mike49

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dstebbins,

It depends on what you mean exactly by "change".

The necessary and proper clause does enable change within the context of the enumerated powers. So, something like the Commerce clause can have a lot of running room in it.

The Federal Government is not the cure all. In and of itself it does not have to deal with everything. The States and the democratic institutions within a State are more able to change. This is really the original intention.

If you would ask the Federal Government they would say they are within the constitution. No problem, they'd say.
 

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mike49 said:
dstebbins,

It depends on what you mean exactly by "change".

The necessary and proper clause does enable change within the context of the enumerated powers. So, something like the Commerce clause can have a lot of running room in it.

The Federal Government is not the cure all. In and of itself it does not have to deal with everything. The States and the democratic institutions within a State are more able to change. This is really the original intention.

If you would ask the Federal Government they would say they are within the constitution. No problem, they'd say.
Yes, I don't think the Founding Fathers would have thrown a program at all that itches or regulated all that moves.
 

dstebbins

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mike49 said:
dstebbins,

It depends on what you mean exactly by "change".
Think about this: The Founding Fathers could have never imagined a world in which cars, computers, and televisions were the commonplace, yet they created a constitution that has adapted to just such a world. Congress was immediantly given the power to outlaw nudity on free channels like NBC without a Constitutional amendment that said "Congress shall have the power to regulate electronic media" even though the first amendment garentees right to press and speech. Why? Because they can, and the Founding Fathers put the wheels in motion for them to do that in 1887.

Another way of the government stretching its powers is automobiles. If the powers of the government were strictly defined, then the Energy Policy Act should be unconstitutional, should it not? After all, the Constitution never mentions the government regulating the energy market. It also never mentions a cabinet, executive departments, or a Bank of the United States. Shouldn't all those things be unconstitutional under your interpretation?

Think about that for a moment.
 

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dstebbins said:
I agree that most of the enumerated powers are not vague, but take, for example, the necessary and proper clause. "Congress shall have the power to make all laws that are necessary and proper." Basically, this means that the government can do anything it wants that is not in conflict with the rest of the Constitution, as long as the times demand it.
Wrong.
You didnt cite the REST of the elastic clause -- "....proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof"

The Elastic clause doesnt grant any additional powers to Congress, it simply sllows it to pass laws to executing the powers granted elsewhere in the Constitution.
 

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M14 Shooter said:
Wrong.
You didnt cite the REST of the elastic clause -- "....proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof"

The Elastic clause doesnt grant any additional powers to Congress, it simply sllows it to pass laws to executing the powers granted elsewhere in the Constitution.
did you read this?

dstebbins said:
Think about this: The Founding Fathers could have never imagined a world in which cars, computers, and televisions were the commonplace, yet they created a constitution that has adapted to just such a world. Congress was immediantly given the power to outlaw nudity on free channels like NBC without a Constitutional amendment that said "Congress shall have the power to regulate electronic media" even though the first amendment garentees right to press and speech. Why? Because they can, and the Founding Fathers put the wheels in motion for them to do that in 1887.

Another way of the government stretching its powers is automobiles. If the powers of the government were strictly defined, then the Energy Policy Act should be unconstitutional, should it not? After all, the Constitution never mentions the government regulating the energy market. It also never mentions a cabinet, executive departments, or a Bank of the United States. Shouldn't all those things be unconstitutional under your interpretation?

Think about that for a moment.
 

mike49

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dstebbins said:
Think about this: The Founding Fathers could have never imagined a world in which cars, computers, and televisions were the commonplace, yet they created a constitution that has adapted to just such a world. Congress was immediantly given the power to outlaw nudity on free channels like NBC without a Constitutional amendment that said "Congress shall have the power to regulate electronic media" even though the first amendment garentees right to press and speech. Why? Because they can, and the Founding Fathers put the wheels in motion for them to do that in 1887.

Another way of the government stretching its powers is automobiles. If the powers of the government were strictly defined, then the Energy Policy Act should be unconstitutional, should it not? After all, the Constitution never mentions the government regulating the energy market. It also never mentions a cabinet, executive departments, or a Bank of the United States. Shouldn't all those things be unconstitutional under your interpretation?

Think about that for a moment.

The constitution should be interpreted expansively. This was a view held by Chief Justice Marshall.

Automobiles, TV, Internet, etc.., all within the commerce clause. Even the Energy Policy could be justified in some manner. Most things the government does is within it's power. The things you mention were never intended to need a Constitutional Amendment. Government moving into new areas created by the citizens, TV, etc., those things merely fall into already enumerated powers.

The different executive departments are covered.

The things that you call, "a stretch", in your post, I would not call a stretch.

The court itself, who are alone the final Judge on the constitution, are the ones who have possibly stretched power. For good or bad.
 

dstebbins

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mike49 said:
The constitution should be interpreted expansively. This was a view held by Chief Justice Marshall.

Automobiles, TV, Internet, etc.., all within the commerce clause. Even the Energy Policy could be justified in some manner. Most things the government does is within it's power. The things you mention were never intended to need a Constitutional Amendment. Government moving into new areas created by the citizens, TV, etc., those things merely fall into already enumerated powers.
TV is not commerce. It is the media, as is radio and internet. "Commerce" deals with the buying and selling of goods and services, not what people say in public, which is really what you're doing when you're on TV.

The different executive departments are covered.
Where?

The court itself, who are alone the final Judge on the constitution, are the ones who have possibly stretched power. For good or bad.
I do not know of saying anything relating to how Congress can interpret the Constitution. Did I say that? If I did, my apologies. What I said was that the Constitution was flexible; I never said by whom.
 

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dstebbins said:
TV is not commerce. It is the media, as is radio and internet. "Commerce" deals with the buying and selling of goods and services, not what people say in public, which is really what you're doing when you're on TV.
Really? Are you saying that people do not pay to advertize on TV? TV stations don't make huge amounts of profit? The regulation of broadcast TV falls under the Interstate Commerce Clause, as TV broadcasts cross state lines and are a form of business. I don't like a lot of the things that the FCC does, but an unregulated spectrum would be chaos.
 

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Yes, public airways...interstate commerce.

"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

This speaks to the "departments", Congress creates by law these departments.

The founding generation created the Departmenty of State and many others. It was understood that various departments would be created.
 

dstebbins

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Engimo said:
Really? Are you saying that people do not pay to advertize on TV? TV stations don't make huge amounts of profit? The regulation of broadcast TV falls under the Interstate Commerce Clause, as TV broadcasts cross state lines and are a form of business. I don't like a lot of the things that the FCC does, but an unregulated spectrum would be chaos.
I'm aware of that. However, when was the last time we heard of the government regulating commercials? I'm talking about the actual stuff we want to watch on TV, aka the TV shows. That's not commerce. That's media, because it deals with the distribution of information, not the actual buying and selling of goods. While they are intertwined because of the way you have to advertise to get your stuff sold, they are different, just like the curculitory and resperatory systems of the human body are intertwined but different.
 

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dstebbins said:
did you read this?
I did. What's your point?

The Framers gave the Fed Gvmnt the power to do X Y and Z.
Anything not included in X Y and Z belongs to the states.

The Elastic Clause, as mentioned, does NOT grant the fed Gvmnt the power to do anything it was not already given the power to do.
 

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M14 Shooter said:
The Elastic Clause, as mentioned, does NOT grant the fed Gvmnt the power to do anything it was not already given the power to do.
okay, in that case, I guess I can assume that every book relating to the US government I have EVER read lied to me, hmmmmmmmmm?
 

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dstebbins said:
okay, in that case, I guess I can assume that every book relating to the US government I have EVER read lied to me, hmmmmmmmmm?
If any of them actually did say that, then yes.

Your argument negates any need for the 17 clauses preceeding the Elastic Clause. if you;re right -- why are there 17 other powers specified?
 

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M14 Shooter said:
If any of them actually did say that, then yes.
It's not just any of them. EVERY SINGLE ONE I have ever read stated that.

Your argument negates any need for the 17 clauses preceeding the Elastic Clause. if you;re right -- why are there 17 other powers specified?
Why is there a ninth amendment? All the rights of the people are explicitly spelled out in the first eight, so why worry about putting in a ninth? Simple, the writers of the Bill of Rights knew they had left some out that may need to be implimented later on, so they wrote ninth amendment in order to protect unwritten rights.

Likewise, the necessary and proper clause, according to the books I have read, is a safeguard so that Congress will not have to amend the Constitution every friggin time a new need arises. The first seventeen were explicit powers. The necessary and proper clause covers all implied powers, just the same way the 9th amendment covers implied rights, so if you're going to interpret the Constitution strictly, then the ninth amendment is meaningless, which means bye-bye right to privacy, property, and right against harrassment.
 

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dstebbins said:
It's not just any of them. EVERY SINGLE ONE I have ever read stated that.
Then you need to go to better schools or read better books.

Why is there a ninth amendment? All the rights of the people are explicitly spelled out in the first eight, so why worry about putting in a ninth? Simple, the writers of the Bill of Rights knew they had left some out that may need to be implimented later on, so they wrote ninth amendment in order to protect unwritten rights.
This doesnt apply to the powers granted toi the federal Government -- see Amendment X. The founders gave the fed Gvmnt the powers they wanted it to have and reserved the rest for the states and/or the people. If the power to do X isnt spelled out oin the Constitution, then the power belings to the states.

Likewise, the necessary and proper clause, according to the books I have read, is a safeguard so that Congress will not have to amend the Constitution every friggin time a new need arises.
Um...
Why have an amendment process unless you are SUPPOSED to change the Constitution every friggin time a need arises?

The first seventeen were explicit powers. The necessary and proper clause covers all implied powers,
I guess you STILL havent read the ENTIRE clause.
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States,

if the bold section did not exist, you;d be right.
That it does shoots down your entire argument.
if the Founders intended the clause to mean as you suggest, why did they include the bolded section?
 

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dstebbins said:
It's not just any of them. EVERY SINGLE ONE I have ever read stated that.


Why is there a ninth amendment? All the rights of the people are explicitly spelled out in the first eight, so why worry about putting in a ninth? Simple, the writers of the Bill of Rights knew they had left some out that may need to be implimented later on, so they wrote ninth amendment in order to protect unwritten rights.

Likewise, the necessary and proper clause, according to the books I have read, is a safeguard so that Congress will not have to amend the Constitution every friggin time a new need arises. The first seventeen were explicit powers. The necessary and proper clause covers all implied powers, just the same way the 9th amendment covers implied rights, so if you're going to interpret the Constitution strictly, then the ninth amendment is meaningless, which means bye-bye right to privacy, property, and right against harrassment.

The "Bill of Rights" were originally only applied to the Federal Government.

The 9th amendment is an acknowledgement that just because some "rights" were spelled out, they were not all the rights that were had by the people. Many people did not want rights spelled out. The reasoning was if you don't give the power to prohibit speech than the Federal Government can't do it anyway. It was not in the powers enumerated, in the first place.

The States had their own constitutions and rights protected therein.

The "Bill of Rights" or part of have been "incorporated" or applied to the states, the 14th amendment, equal protection clause, has been the vehicle the court uses to apply certain parts of the "Bill of Rights" to the states. The 2nd Amendment has not been incorporated. The Grand Jury clause of the 5th Amendment has not been incorporated. Other things.
 

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Okay now we're just straying from the topic I originally tried to start, about why the Founding Fathers intended for the government to change.

Let's entertain this for a minute. Let's pretend that the powers of the government ARE strictly defined. That still doesn't prove my original argument uncredible. The Founding Fathers still intended for the government to change with the times because they made a PROVISION in the Constitution to change the government with the times. If the Founding Fathers didn't want the government to change, they wouldn't have made the Constitution amendable!

The Founding Fathers would have supported anything we do, even if it goes against their moral values, if it's an amendment simply because it had the supermajority support to pass. The Founding Fathers were honorable men, and even if they didn't support it, they would still not protest because it's their own fault for not making the Constitution more difficult to amend.

Now you can't make a comeback from THAT, now can you?
 

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dstebbins,

Are you paying attention to the Alito hearings?
 

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dstebbins said:
Let's entertain this for a minute. Let's pretend that the powers of the government ARE strictly defined. That still doesn't prove my original argument uncredible. The Founding Fathers still intended for the government to change with the times because they made a PROVISION in the Constitution to change the government with the times. If the Founding Fathers didn't want the government to change, they wouldn't have made the Constitution amendable!
Thats's all well and good - and as a bonus, competely correct.

But:
Where are the amendments that give the Fed Gvmnt the power to create legislation dealing with education, retirement, health care, food stamps, etc?

There are none?

So, the Founders, those people that inteded the fed Gvmnt to have limited and narrowly specified powers, would be OK with these things, even though there's no power for the fed Gvmnt to create them?

How do you figure?

The Founding Fathers would have supported anything we do, even if it goes against their moral values, if it's an amendment simply because it had the supermajority support to pass.
And I ask again: Where are the amendments?
Yer making my case for me. Thanks.

Now you can't make a comeback from THAT, now can you?
You're kidding, right?
 
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