Article1 Section1 Clause 1
"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."
How do you determine if something is Constitutional?
James Madison gave us a 2-step process.
First, Madison said “whenever a question arises concerning the Constitutionality of a particular power; the first question is whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided.”
Second, if the action is absolutely necessary to carry out a power that is clearly spelled out in the Constitution, and it is a proper or customary way of doing so, then, as Madison put it, “it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not; Congress cannot exercise it.”
Federalist Paper #47
Campaign Reform and the Purpose of the First Amendment
by Greg Weiner
A commemoration of the Constitution calls
for impertinent arguments. Mine is this: Our
campaign-finance regime ought to be as unregulated
as possible, but not for the reasons commonly supposed.
The usual way of thinking about campaign finance and free speech pertains primarily to the rights of the speaker rather than the purpose that such speech serves for the listener. And lawmaking in this area tries to affect the behavior of candidates for public office. In a way, this is natural. We see politics through the eyes of politicians—an artifact, I would argue, of the decay of an informal ethic, as well as of our institutions, of self-government.
But this perspective is both misguided and untrue to the purpose and original understanding of the First Amendment, which had very little to do with empowering speakers and everything to do with informing voters—informing them, moreover, for a particular reason. In James Madison’s description, the point of freedom of speech and press was to enable another right: that of “freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon.”
The question we need to ask with respect to campaign finance is whether restricting it through regulations facilitates or undermines that end. We need, in short, to stop thinking of free speech deontologically—of a right to free speech independent of any larger considerations of the polity as a whole—and start thinking teleologically, in terms of the First Amendment’s end or purpose.
What Did John Marshall Accomplish in Marbury v. Madison?
by Keith Whittington
My daughter enjoys horrifying me with tales of daily life in a modern high school, and who am I to deny her such small pleasures. But lately, she’s decided to provoke me with her history lessons on the early republic, and that’s just taking things too far. I don’t envy anyone who sets out to write a high-school history textbook. Reducing all of American history to accessible and interesting highlights for consumption by the average teenager and jumping through all the bureaucratic and political hoops to get the content into the classroom is no easy task. But I reserve the right to pick nits nonetheless. .....Read More....
Bret Stephens’ Fetishism for Gun Control
by Nelson Lund
Right after the Las Vegas
massacre, New York
Times columnist Bret
Stephens demanded that
the Second Amendment be repealed. Mr. Stephens recently left the Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page, where he had been a hawkish voice on foreign affairs, and this burst of constitutional punditry has led to accusations that he is pandering to his new audience.
I doubt this is fair. Certain prominent “conservative intellectuals” have long displayed a notable lack of enthusiasm for the right to keep and bear arms. Nor is Mr. Stephens the first to advocate repeal of the Second Amendment. George Will and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom are Fox News regulars, did so many years ago. Their views have been subjected to a detailed critique, much of which can be applied to Mr. Stephens. Some of it is worth repeating now.
Mr. Stephens begins by saying that “I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment.” His use of the word “fetish” is presumably not meant as sexual innuendo. Rather, I suppose, he means that the conservative defense of the Second Amendment is irrational or superstitious. In fact, it is Mr. Stephens himself whose flawed logic exhibits an irrational belief in magic. ....Read More.....
What is Building Blocks for Liberty?
Building Blocks for Liberty is dedicated to the preservation of the original intent of the US Constitution and the restoration of a Federal government that operates according those precepts and principles set forth by our founders. We do this by educating our citizens "We the People" concerning our three major founding documents; the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Federalist Papers, which were designed to further explain and define the intent of the Constitution.
History has proven that elected officials are as fallible as the rest of humanity. As such, the founders understood that a government would stay within its prescribed, limited bounds only if its citizens were educated and actively participated in the process. From their exhaustive analysis of previous governmental systems they concluded that government would not automatically operate in the best interest of it's citizens. Thus, they designed a Constitutional Republic which makes "We the People" an integral part of the process and maintenance of that government.
Things To Remember
Progressivism and the Preamble
by Greg Weiner
Constitutions are naturally conserving
documents. Their purpose is to say
what a society cannot change, or at
least cannot change readily. In
constitutive moments, polities lash
themselves like Odysseus to the mast,
not the pilot’s seat.
This is lost on those political commentators, ascendant during the NFL’s anthem controversy, who seek to press the language of the Constitution’s Preamble into the service of Progressivism. We are talking about Progressivism with a capital “P”— the strain that believes in unrelenting progress as the inherent good of man and the inevitable trajectory of events. The phrase in question is an old rhetorical favorite: the Preamble’s quest for “a more perfect union.”
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