There are, of course, many clauses of the Constitution that are very important. Let us look at two of the clauses that have had the greatest impact on the power of the federal government and, thereby, on the United States as a whole.
The first of these is the elastic clause, which is also known as the “necessary and proper clause.” This clause says that the Congress has the power to take actions that are “necessary and proper” to carry out the powers that the Constitution specifically gives it. This clause is extremely important because it gives Congress many more powers than are set out in the Constitution. The Supreme Court used the case of McCulloch v. Maryland to set out the idea that the elastic clause allows the Congress to do things that the Constitution does not say that it may.
The second clause is the commerce clause. This clause gives the Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states. The Congress has used this power to regulate many areas of life today. Since interstate commerce touches so many areas of our life, the Congress uses this power to do such things as banning racial discrimination in restaurants and other public facilities.
These two clauses, then, have helped to give the federal government much more power than it otherwise would have had.