Liberty Warrior just tweeted me saying I mentioned on the air that the Constitution enumerates 18 powers of the federal government. He wanted me to elaborate, so I forwarded him a show I did where I put the Constitution in a nutshell, as I understand it. I went to Stanford Law School and am a member of the Bar of the State of New York, but to come up with this quick & dirty outline, I simply read the Constitution. This is one of the reasons I respect Justice Scalia–a brilliant legal mind yet his touchstone was simply the text of the Constitution.

Here’s the podcast: The Constitution in a Nutshell

Here are my show notes from that show:

First, the Constitution lays out who does what in the federal govt and some guidelines for elections and other processes

  • Following the preamble, the very first thing in the constitution, Article 1 Section 1 states clearly: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in Congress”
    • No executive orders other than to execute laws
    • Administrative “law” is invalid
      • I learned this on the first day of admin law class!
    • President is charged with executing laws
      • “preserve, protect, defend the Constitution”
      • is only commander and chief “when called into actual service”
      • must periodically address congress on the state of the union and make recommendations to them as to measures he judges necessary and expedient
      • “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”

Second, the Constitution lays out exactly what powers the federal govt has–and doesn’t have

  • There are only 18 – they are called the enumerated powers:
  • Levy taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce, establish rule of naturalization, coin money, punish counterfeiting, establish a post office and post roads, grant copyrights, set up courts, punish pirates (!), declare war, raise armies, maintain a navy, make rules for the army and navy, provide for and call up the militia against rebellions and invasions, govern the nation’s capital, make all laws necessary for executing the powers of govt as laid out by the constitution
  • Goes through a long list of things the govt may not do.

Finally the Bill of Rights goes through very specifically the things the govt may not do against individuals…

  • we hear more about the bill of rights than the constitution – mostly the bill of rights addresses the freedoms citizens need to beat back the government – free speech, freedom of the press, privacy, due process, guns, right to a trial
    • Obama’s last speech*: “the United States does not collect intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent”
      • so I guess it’s okay then?
        • The purpose of the bill of rights is to fight govt, if this doesn’t subvert that purpose then it’s okay to violate the BoR?
      • Actually it does collect intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent: IRS, AP/Fox scandal, General Petraeus
      • Obama knows what he’s doing – he was a con law professor – he is using his knowledge for bad – how to undermine not uphold the Constitution
    • But the Founders didn’t want anyone to think the Bill of Rights was an exhaustive list of ALL natural rights so it added
      • 9th Am – enumerating the rights doesn’t disparage others retained by the people
    • and finally…
      • 10th Am – powers not delegated to the federal govt by the constitution are reserved by the states and the people
        • well established this includes health, education & safety
          • Obamacare 100% unequivocally unconstitutional

*I think this is referring to the 2014 State of the Union Address

For the record, I would probably have been on Patrick Henry’s side in wanting to maintain the Articles of Confederation rather than replacing it with the Constitution. This was a raging debate at the time, misleadingly called the Federalists v the Anti-Federalists…I would have been an Anti-Federalist. (It should have been called the Nationalists v. the Federalists, in which case I would have been a Federalist.) The debate was conducted in the press as the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, the latter of which, if I recall correctly, was intentionally suppressed in American history textbooks for many years. Here are some of the Anti-Federalist Papers.

Today, I realize that the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is better than anything we would ever get right now, so I don’t support anyone calling for a Constitutional Convention.

Here is Patrick Henry’s speech objecting to the Constitution.

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