>Tea Party and Constitutional Confusion


“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;”

The Tea Party, like I’ve said in past writings, has some good ideas. Having a government that is fiscally responsible, that is an idea I can connect with.

But, I am struggling with the notion that Tea Partiers have with the elimination of the Department of Education. Not necessary, Tea Partiers claim; give the power to educate to the states and local communities. And, they claim, there is no provision in the United States Constitution for a Department of Education.

Technically, that statement is true; nowhere will one find the provision to instantiate a “Department of Education.” I don’t see anything for the Department of Energy, or Interior, either.

As an aside, there is a provision for the Federal Reserve Bank, because Article 1, Section 8 specifically gives the government power to coin money and control the value of said money.

Article 1, Section 8 provides two provisions for the creation of the Department of Education, and any other Department, Agency, Office, or whatever else the government needs. Let’s look at the obvious one first.

“…provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United State…”

I don’t know how you define “general Welfare” but to me, and to the Supreme Court (whose job it is to interpret the law) “general Welfare” means that Congress can do pretty much as it pleases for creating or abolishing whatever it sees fit to create or abolish. That means if Congress thinks that we need direction for education, then the creation of the Department of Education is completely within the domain of Congress.

“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.”

The key part of the this provision is the “necessary and proper” fragment. It is this fragment that the Supreme Court, over the years, has allowed Congress to pretty much act with impunity in legislating policies.

People argue with me about the meaning of these provisions. These provisions are part of the original Constitution and not later Amendments. Furthermore, these provision appear in the First Article, which lends some weight to their importance. Arguing with me is like arguing against the Constitution …

The Constitution is also what is referred to as a “Living Document,” meaning the Constitution has the ability to change to reflect changes in American society and societal needs. The Constitutional is a tool with which to create, alter, modify, or delete elements of governance in order to adapt to changes in American society.

The vagueness of the document is DELIBERATE. There is no way the framers of the Constitution could anticipate future needs of Americans, other than to create a Constitution that would allow future generations the flexibility to govern. Govern, without the interference of Religion. Hence, the vagueness.

That there are no obvious references to the Department of Education, or to the Department of Interior, or to the Department of Energy does not mean that they cannot exist. There does not need to be any specific reference to any Office, Tax, Agency, or Department. The Constitution grants powers to Congress to create as needed.

Tea Partiers, and people leaning towards the Tea Party, need to really open their mind about their interpretation of the Constitution. Those that want to return the country to Constitutional Law – whatever that is – are living in a country created by Constitutional Law. Again, they seem to be a victim of Myopic Ignorance, of seeing only what they want to see.

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