Saturday, April 11, 2009

HR 450: A Sliver of Hope for our Tattered Constitution

Once in awhile some upbeat initiative provides some welcome relief from the prosaic and outrageous. And so it is with HR 450, the Enumerated Powers Act, which, with the co-sponsorship of 19 other Republicans, was once again introduced by Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ).

Citing the inviolability of the 10th Amendment’s provision that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”, Rep. Shadegg’s bill, if enacted, would compel lawmakers to cite specific constitutional authority for any bill passing through Congress. (Wow! Can you just imagine the D.C. Aristocracy's finally adhering to Constitutional Law and limited government? Nor can I, but the prospect is exciting nonetheless.)

With the unrestrained expansion of federal government into every sector of society, the bill’s purpose is to oblige lawmakers to be mindful of the framers’ intent with respect to drawing a clear distinction between what constitutes Federal and State powers. (Civics 101, huh?)

Specifically, HR 450 stipulates that “each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement (subject to review by the Supreme Court) of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act," and that "the failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. “

Given progressive dominion in Congress, the bill, of course, has precious little chance of making it to the floor, much less escaping the House Rules and House Judiciary Committees ruled by Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and John Conyers (D-MI) respectively.

Nonetheless, Mr. Shadegg is to be commended for his determination to return our runaway government to its “limited government” constitutional parameters. It is reassuring to know that in addition to constitutional sticklers like Governor Perry of Texas who is reasserting the insuperability of the 10th Amendment, there are lawmakers in Washington, D.C. too who honor and cherish the Constitution.

I hope others join me in personally commending and encouraging Mr. Shadegg for his patriotism--Washington Office: 202-225-3361. A quick supportive phonecall to Rep. Lee's office here in Rochester might also be helpful--663-5570.