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Referring to Article I of the US Constitution, is there any need to add to or take away...

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successyes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 11, 2013 at 2:30 AM via web

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Referring to Article I of the US Constitution, is there any need to add to or take away from the powers given to Congress?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 11, 2013 at 2:43 AM (Answer #1)

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This is, of course, largely a matter of opinion.  However, it does not appear that Congress needs to have any powers added or taken away from those that are given in Article I of the Constitution.  The reason for this is that so few powers are actually enumerated in the Constitution that there is no real way in which we could take any of the relevant powers away.

The Constitution’s grant of powers to Congress is purposefully vague.  The Framers did not want to try to enumerate every single power that Congress could have.  Therefore, the powers that are given to Congress are either clearly necessary or obsolete and harmless.  There is, for example, no need to take away the power to grant letters of marque and reprisal because that is simply no longer done.  Other powers are too broad to take away.  For example, you may think that Congress should not have the power to protect endangered species.  However, you cannot argue that the entire power to regulate interstate commerce (which is the power under which Congress protects endangered species) should be taken away.

Many people do feel that Congress has too many powers.  However, those powers are based on interpretations of what is said in the Constitution, not on the actual words of the Constitution.   Therefore, there is no power that needs to be taken away.  It is also unnecessary to give Congress more powers because it can find ways to do all the things it needs to do already. 

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