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The Constitution, Art. I Section 1: All Legislative Power Granted to the Congress

The Capitol Building on Inauguration Night

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. This is the first sentence of the Constitution.  It appears quite simple.  The power to enact laws about the subjects listed in the Constitution is granted to the Congress, and the […]

Book Review: The Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis

Partisan Divide cover

Much of my writing on the Constitution is inspired by an effort to bring Americans together in understanding our founding principles.  The Constitution itself is not Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, it is American, but too often today Americans spend more time being confrontational while failing to seek our common ground.  This situation is […]

The Seventeenth Amendment: Destroying State Sovereignty

Seventeenth Amendment

From 1789 to 1913 the power to choose United States Senators was vested by the Constitution in the State legislatures. The Seventeenth Amendment altered the process by providing for direct election of Senators by the people. This fundamentally altered a carefully balanced power structure built into the unamended Constitution that served important purposes: to limit federal power […]

The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution

The_Tenth_Amendment

“The Tenth Amendment is the foundation of the Constitution.”  – Thomas Jefferson Among the questions raised by opponents of the Constitution during the ratification debates was the lack of an express limit on federal power, and that it would be a danger to individual freedoms and to the powers of the states. In response to […]

Pennsylvania Mutiny Chases Congress to Princeton, NJ

Independence Hall

The Constitution provided for the creation of a “federal enclave” for the United States capital with these words: “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United […]

Constitution’s Ninth Amendment: Protecting Unenumerated Rights

Ninth Amendment

On September 17, 1787 the drafting of the American Constitution was complete.  The proposed document was not without its detractors and several delegates who participated refused to sign the document.[1]  A major objection was the lack of specific protections for individual freedoms.   The document provided that it would become effective with the ratification of nine […]

Constitution’s Twenty-Third Amendment: DC Residents Cast Votes for President

District of Columbia

The Constitution provided for a seat of government for the United States. It did not provide voting rights for those living there. The Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, clause 17 empowered Congress to establish a seat of government, and also to exercise exclusive authority over the territory. This authority was established as follows: “To exercise exclusive […]

Constitution’s 26th Amendment: Lowering the Voting Age to 18

President Dwight Eisenhower

“For years our citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 have, in time of peril, been summoned to fight for America. They should participate in the political process that produces this fateful summons. I urge Congress to propose to the States a constitutional amendment permitting citizens to vote when they reach the age of […]

Twentieth Amendment: Limiting Lame Duck Mischief

Sen. Norris

The Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution Explaining the need for the Twentieth Amendment is messy.  That is because despite the care taken in drafting, the Constitution left a few matters messy.  The Constitution provided terms of office for House members, Senators and the President.  It did not give dates for when those terms would begin.  It left […]

Howard Baker: A Profile in Courage We Need Today

Senator Howard Baker

The passing of Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) brings to mind a time when the US Congress was held in high esteem.[1]Senator Baker valued country above partisan politics. His passing provokes thoughts comparing the Congress of the 1970’s to the Congress of the 2010’s. A Distinguished Career Highlighted by a Famous Question Senator Baker served 18 […]