Archive for Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Enumerate powers

January 7, 2009

To the editor:

For a Congress that routinely disregards the Constitution’s limits on its powers, the Enumerated Powers Act has become necessary. I understand every senator and congressman as well as the president, judges and unelected bureaucrats, all take an oath to uphold the U. S. Constitution. Yet, these same agents of the people routinely and literally disregard the Constitution’s division of powers, especially its limitations on federal power, just as if there are no limitations on their power.

The proposal, introduced each session by Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., since 1995, has gone precisely nowhere and makes its first appearance in the Senate, courtesy of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., only this year (S. 3159). This is shameful and arrogant. Merely debating the merits of the Enumerated Powers Act — something that has not yet come to pass on the floor of either chamber — could serve a valuable function by forcing Congress to consider the role of the Constitution in “the people’s work.”

To be sure, Congress will never pass a law that substantially limits its own powers, so there will be no quick fix to restoring original constitutional principles in the national legislature. The Enumerated Powers Act, however, would reveal just how far Congress has drifted from its textual mooring and, just perhaps, begin the task of helping it to reverse course.

I challenge Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Dennis Moore, as you outrageously spend more of the taxpayer’s future this month, please ask yourself: Where do I receive the constitutional authority to pass this legislation.

The Rev. Fred Thorp



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