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Is the air-force unconstitutional?

Blahface

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The constitution specifically gives congress the power to provide for armies and a navy, but for obvious reasons, it doesn't mention an air force. If they had instead been a bit more vague and said "provide for a military", it would get around this problem. I'm sure if air fighters were available at the time, the constitution would have addressed it, but they weren't and so it didn't. Considering that a lot of the founding fathers didn't even like the idea of a standing army, do you think they would have wanted us to amend the constitution in order to provided for an air-force or do you think the consensus would have been that the constitutional already allows for an air-force in spirit so amending would be unnecessary?
 
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To provide for common good.

It is constitutional.
 

Blahface

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This is the part referring to the common defense:

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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
This is primarily giving congress the power to tax. A lot of people who consider themselves strict constitutionalists would see "Common defense" and "General Welfare" as reference to the other powers enumerated to congress by the constitution. Although I believe in social democracy, I agree with that interpretation. There is definitely a case to be made otherwise though and it isn't as clear as the strict constitutionalists think.
 

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The constitution specifically gives congress the power to provide for armies and a navy, but for obvious reasons, it doesn't mention an air force. If they had instead been a bit more vague and said "provide for a military", it would get around this problem. I'm sure if air fighters were available at the time, the constitution would have addressed it, but they weren't and so it didn't. Considering that a lot of the founding fathers didn't even like the idea of a standing army, do you think they would have wanted us to amend the constitution in order to provided for an air-force or do you think the consensus would have been that the constitutional already allows for an air-force in spirit so amending would be unnecessary?
Well, considering that the Air Force started out as the Army Air Corps I figure we're covered.
 

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I believe that the Founders were largely shaped by history and reality as they found it. If they were alive today they would have 200+ years of additional history to study and a very stark reality that would have them thinking very differently about a lot of matters than strict constructionists would lead one to believe. Well, maybe except for Ben Franklin who would be too busy ballin' and knockin up Hollywood Ho's when he wasn't designing billion dollar apps or filming his reality show to care that much one way or the other.
 

Bob Blaylock

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The constitution specifically gives congress the power to provide for armies and a navy, but for obvious reasons, it doesn't mention an air force. If they had instead been a bit more vague and said "provide for a military", it would get around this problem. I'm sure if air fighters were available at the time, the constitution would have addressed it, but they weren't and so it didn't. Considering that a lot of the founding fathers didn't even like the idea of a standing army, do you think they would have wanted us to amend the constitution in order to provided for an air-force or do you think the consensus would have been that the constitutional already allows for an air-force in spirit so amending would be unnecessary?
I suppose that it is possible to argue for a strict enough interpretation to say that all of the federal military must be part of the Army or the Navy, and that the Air Force, as a separate branch, is unconstitutional. But I think this is rather a hard stretch to make. Clearly, the intent is that the United States should have a military comparable to that of other countries. At the time, that meant an Army and a Navy, and not any other branches, based on technologies that would not exist until more than a century later. Now that aviation technology exists, and is part of every nation's military, I think it is clearly in keeping with the intent of not the literal wording of the Constitution that our military should include this technology in a manner comparable to that of other nations' militaries.

The Air Force currently exists as a separate branch, not as part of the Army or the Navy. Originally, it was part of the Army, and should there ever be a determination made that it is unconstitutional for it to exist as a separate branch, then we can always put it back under the Army where it originated. But I think the distinction of the Air Force being a separate branch of its own, or part of the Army, is a petty organizational detail of a sort that I very much doubt that the authors of the Constitution intended for it to dictate, and I doubt if any court would find such an interpretation to be appropriate.
 

Blahface

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Well, considering that the Air Force started out as the Army Air Corps I figure we're covered.
That is just semantics. Using that argument, we can make anything constitutional just by shoving in a department that is already approved.
 

Bob Blaylock

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To provide for common good.

It is constitutional.
I cannot agree with this interpretation. If your interpretation is correct, than the federal government has nearly unlimited power to do anything that it can argue to be “for common good”, and the Tenth Amendment is meaningless.
 

Bob Blaylock

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Well, considering that the Air Force started out as the Army Air Corps I figure we're covered.
That is just semantics. Using that argument, we can make anything constitutional just by shoving in a department that is already approved.
The Air Force clearly fulfills the same purpose as the Army and the Navy—a purpose that is among those explicitly delegated to the federal government—so there's no reason why it wouldn't be entirely appropriate and valid to include it as part of one of these other branches.

This wouldn't be at all the same thing as putting a government agency whose purpose is entirely outside of the legitimate powers of government under another agency whose purpose is within the legitimate powers, in an attempt to legitimize the former.
 

Blahface

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I suppose that it is possible to argue for a strict enough interpretation to say that all of the federal military must be part of the Army or the Navy, and that the Air Force, as a separate branch, is unconstitutional. But I think this is rather a hard stretch to make. Clearly, the intent is that the United States should have a military comparable to that of other countries. At the time, that meant an Army and a Navy, and not any other branches, based on technologies that would not exist until more than a century later. Now that aviation technology exists, and is part of every nation's military, I think it is clearly in keeping with the intent of not the literal wording of the Constitution that our military should include this technology in a manner comparable to that of other nations' militaries.
I'm sure if they knew about today's current aviation technology, they'd definitely want us to implement it in our military. But do you think that they'd just want us to have it by reading it into the constitution or by amending the constitution? Don't you think it is possible that a lot of them would see it as a slippery slope towards more loose interpretations of the constitution?

Let's take another example. The purpose of the post office was to establish a communications network across the country. Would this give the post office authority to be the primary providers of tel-communications, television, and the internet?
 

Trip

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I'm sure if they knew about today's current aviation technology, they'd definitely want us to implement it in our military. But do you think that they'd just want us to have it by reading it into the constitution or by amending the constitution? Don't you think it is possible that a lot of them would see it as a slippery slope towards more loose interpretations of the constitution?

Let's take another example. The purpose of the post office was to establish a communications network across the country. Would this give the post office authority to be the primary providers of tel-communications, television, and the internet?
While I do not agree with the previous reference of "common good" providing any sort of broad plenary power unto itself, a somewhat vague reference to the general Welfare clause. I do agree that a true original intent reading of Article 1, Section 8 empowering the federal government "To raise and support Armies" does apply in this instance, and needs no such amendment.

Nowhere does the term "armies" relegate the military to only the land and sea.
 
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I cannot agree with this interpretation. If your interpretation is correct, than the federal government has nearly unlimited power to do anything that it can argue to be “for common good”, and the Tenth Amendment is meaningless.
That is the reality of things.
 

Bob Blaylock

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That is the reality of things.
The reality of a corrupt government, seizing power far outside of what the Constitution was written to allow it.

Not the reality of the Constitution itself, nor of the level of government involvement that it was intended to establish.
 
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The reality of a corrupt government, seizing power far outside of what the Constitution was written to allow it.

Not the reality of the Constitution itself, nor of the level of government involvement that it was intended to establish.
The Constitution was intended to allow one human to owm anotber in chattel slavery.
 

Trip

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The Constitution was intended to allow one human to owm anotber in chattel slavery.

What an utter pile of horse fodder.

The Constitution provided a system of government for the first time in human history, where individual rights were not handed down by government, but were innate to the individual.

Even Frederick Douglass, a self-educated black ex-slave, who originally described the Constitution as a "slave document", when finally having actually read it at Lincoln's behest changed his tune:

"They framed the Constitution plainly with a view to the speedy downfall of slavery. They carefully excluded from the Constitution any and every word which could lead to the belief that they meant it for persons of only one complexion.

The Constitution, in its language and in its spirit, welcomes the black man to all the rights which it was intended to guarantee to any class of the American people. Its preamble tells us for whom and for what it was made."

Frederick Douglass,
Speech delivered to the Church of the Puritans, New York in May 1863

Frederick Douglass describes that Constitution in terms entirely opposite of your own, and he lived through the slavery.

What you're spouting is nothing but a lot of false country-hating, mindless propaganda born out of a failed socialist public education system.
 
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What an utter pile of horse fodder.

The Constitution provided a system of government for the first time in human history, where individual rights were not handed down by government, but were innate to the individual.

Even Frederick Douglass, a self-educated black ex-slave, who originally described the Constitution as a "slave document", when finally having actually read it at Lincoln's behest changed his tune:

"They framed the Constitution plainly with a view to the speedy downfall of slavery. They carefully excluded from the Constitution any and every word which could lead to the belief that they meant it for persons of only one complexion.

The Constitution, in its language and in its spirit, welcomes the black man to all the rights which it was intended to guarantee to any class of the American people. Its preamble tells us for whom and for what it was made."

Frederick Douglass,
Speech delivered to the Church of the Puritans, New York in May 1863

Frederick Douglass describes that Constitution in terms entirely opposite of your own, and he lived through the slavery.

What you're spouting is nothing but a lot of false country-hating, mindless propaganda born out of a failed socialist public education system.
The Constitution set up a system of privilege for some servitude for others.
 

davidtaylorjr

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The constitution specifically gives congress the power to provide for armies and a navy, but for obvious reasons, it doesn't mention an air force. If they had instead been a bit more vague and said "provide for a military", it would get around this problem. I'm sure if air fighters were available at the time, the constitution would have addressed it, but they weren't and so it didn't. Considering that a lot of the founding fathers didn't even like the idea of a standing army, do you think they would have wanted us to amend the constitution in order to provided for an air-force or do you think the consensus would have been that the constitutional already allows for an air-force in spirit so amending would be unnecessary?
“The Congress shall have Power To ...raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years....”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 12
1a : a large organized body of armed personnel trained for war especially on land
Armies - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
If it had actually said "Army" we may have a problem, but armies, and given the definition, it is constitutional. Armies are espcially on land, but not restricted to be on land. It did not say a land army in the document.
 

Trip

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The Constitution set up a system of privilege for some servitude for others.

Please do direct us to the specific passages of the U.S. Constitution that sets up any sort of system of privilege, and any sort of system of servitude?


Perhaps you feel that constraining the government in what it might legitimately do, while protecting individual rights and property, thereby preventing government from using its force and authority to equalize persons and redistribute property, as being promotional of a system of privilege?
 

head of joaquin

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The constitution specifically gives congress the power to provide for armies and a navy, but for obvious reasons, it doesn't mention an air force. If they had instead been a bit more vague and said "provide for a military", it would get around this problem. I'm sure if air fighters were available at the time, the constitution would have addressed it, but they weren't and so it didn't. Considering that a lot of the founding fathers didn't even like the idea of a standing army, do you think they would have wanted us to amend the constitution in order to provided for an air-force or do you think the consensus would have been that the constitutional already allows for an air-force in spirit so amending would be unnecessary?
A wonderful paradox for the literalists and tea party cranks who think that the Constitution has to mention something for it to apply. Hence their crank attacks on welfare and food stamps, etc.

Excellent point! It's fun to watch them spin!
 

Master PO

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A wonderful paradox for the literalists and tea party cranks who think that the Constitution has to mention something for it to apply. Hence their crank attacks on welfare and food stamps, etc.

Excellent point! It's fun to watch them spin!
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison, 1792
 

head of joaquin

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“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison, 1792
Is he on the Supreme Court?
 

American

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A wonderful paradox for the literalists and tea party cranks who think that the Constitution has to mention something for it to apply. Hence their crank attacks on welfare and food stamps, etc.

Excellent point! It's fun to watch them spin!
The Constitution provides for the common defense, and the air force is part of the executive branch. It does that depts. of the executive can be created. The power to give individual citizen money is not provided for. But what do you care, your type doesn't like the Constitution anyway....drafted by rich, white, slaveowners.
 

head of joaquin

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he is the highest authority on the constitution along with the bill of rights.
According to the Constitution, yes. Guys on the internet don't get to decide what's constitutional; the Constitution itself sets out the procedure in Art. 3.

Oh the irony of tea party cranks proposing unconstitutional means to determine constitutionality!
 

Master PO

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According to the Constitution, yes. Guys on the internet don't get to decide what's constitutional; the Constitution itself sets out the procedure in Art. 3.

Oh the irony of tea party cranks proposing unconstitutional means to determine constitutionality!
the constitution does setup a procedure for its amending, however can show be where the constitution has been amended to give the federal government more powers.
 
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