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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Oh, poor weepy pudge.

    The total population of the United States when that was written was less than half the size of Los Angeles County is now. The Constitution was great, its authors were brilliant, forward-thinking men, astounding foresight, etc.

    But anything has trouble scaling over 200 years. There was huge uproar and griping over Marbury v. Madison but it turned out to be necessary to balance powers. Income tax turned out to be necessary to stabilize the middle class and literally save millions of li

    • Marbury v. Madison is hardly relevant here. What Marshall said is that Congress has implied powers: those powers that are necessary and proper to perform their expressed powers. That is not a blanket "do whatever is in the general welfare" interpretation.

      The point is that it's a living document.

      Feel free to amend the Constitution, if you can. Until then, it is law, and violating it is illegal. Being a "living document" does not mean you can modify the interpretation to fit what you think it SHOULD m
      • I note for the record that your interpretation of the commerce clause to allow the government to build roads and bridges is found nowhere within the Federalist Papers. Read Nos. 12 and 22 for example. Or just look up the commerce clause in the index and read through every mention of it. Every single time, you will find what is discussed is taxes, duties, import taxes, evading import taxes, tariffs, import taxes vs. property taxes, taxes, taxes and taxes.

        It took over a hundred years for our Supreme Court to twist the words of the Constitution to mean what they wanted it to mean in order to allow much-needed work to get done. Regulating tariffs on commerce, it turns out, meant Congress could build roads to facilitate commerce. See the connection? Neither do I.

        Note that this is exactly what you oppose: tortured interpretation of the Constitution for reasons of practicality. First they tried the "post roads" clause, and then when that got nowhere, they fell back on the commerce clause -- and it took fourteen years and two Supreme Courts, but finally they got that twisted meaning accepted as Constitutional:

        http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/marapr01/commongood.htm [tfhrc.gov]:

        Dozens of road bills were introduced over the next 10 to 12 years [after 1905]. Many proposed construction of a national "interstate" highway system with the routes specified in the bills and, in some cases, given names. Some bills involved funding for a specific road. However, most bills proposed variations of Brownlow's federal-aid program, and all met the same fate.

        One of the chief objections was constitutional - an issue that had been debated in the early years of the republic without clear resolution until the spread of railroads beginning in the 1830s rendered the issue moot. As the call for better roads grew in the 20th century, many members of Congress still believed the Constitution prohibited a federal role. To get around this objection, sponsors of the "good roads" bills typically linked aid to the delivery of the U.S. mail. This stratagem resulted from Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which granted to Congress the power to "establish Post Offices and post Roads." The reference to this authority, it was hoped, would answer any constitutional objections to federal road funding.

        Although the "post roads" provision was a convenient reference, the U.S. Supreme Court had previously supported federal involvement in road improvements by citing a different provision of Article I, Section 8: "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States and with the Indian Tribes." In an 1893 decision, Justice David Brewer noted that "the power to regulate commerce carries with it power over all the means and instrumentalities by which commerce is carried on" (Monongahela Navigation Company v. United States). This ruling and a similar Supreme Court ruling in 1907 effectively ended the debate over constitutionality for all but the most diehard members of Congress.

        Note that, if you really think all Supreme Courts are to be distrusted and only the meanings of the original authors are authoritative, you must reject this reasoning and accept that funding our interstate highway system is not a power given to Congress by our Constitution. (You would be in agreement with many members of Congress before 1900, and some after.)

        On the other hand, if you think our Supreme Courts are qualified to interpret the Constitution, even though their interpretations may extend Congressional power far beyond what the founders apparently intended, then everything is just fine with our interstates. And every other big federal spending project that the courts haven't nixed.

        Take your pick, but be consistent! :)

        • I note for the record that your interpretation of the commerce clause to allow the government to build roads and bridges is found nowhere within the Federalist Papers.

          You say that as though it has some relevance to your point, or mine. Mine is that things like Medicare are not in any way related to, and therefore not implied by, any of the expressed/enumerated powers granted to Congress, but that the interstate highway system is.

          That Madison never mentioned it has no bearing, because Madison, to my know