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  • Not So Sweeping After All: The Limits of the Necessary and Proper Clause

    The Necessary and Proper Clause makes things happen. To many on the left, the Necessary and Proper Clause joins the General Welfare Clause, and the Commerce Clause to form a trivium of validation for any and every expansion of government power imaginable. But, as David Engdahl explains in his Constitutional Guidance for Lawmakers essay, the Necessary and Proper Clause is not a blank check for Congress to pass anything it deems necessary or proper for America. Just as the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause have limits, so too does the Necessary and Proper Clause.

    After listing the 17 specific powers delegated to Congress, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution concludes by specifying that Congress has the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” This lawmaking power is limited and defined by the ends for which it is delegated: “for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” All the Necessary and Proper Clause does is to make explicit a power already implied in the grants of powers in Section 8 and elsewhere. It is the means to achieve ends. Learn more about why Necessary and Proper Clause makes things—but not just anything—happen.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Not So Sweeping After All: The Limits of the Necessary and Proper Clause

    1. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      Unfortunately the Founders did not envision the need to write each clause for a generation of Leftitsts that would stop reading after the first ten words!

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Not So Sweeping After All: The Limits of the Necessary and Proper Clause | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. West Texan says:

      I fully concur with the Anti-Federalist Brutus. His fear of generalized grants of power to congress has long been validated. Several well meaning founders proved somewhat naive to the constitution's power limiting ability, enter today's compromising conservative. Other founders welcomed the clauses as a subversive device to enhance their elitist aspirations, enter today's socially progressive demagogues. Unfortunately the latter seems to be winning overall. Eventually taking the country down the pathway of Rome. Like many true patriots, I'm keeping my powder dry so that one day lefties will again enjoy the liberties they obviously take for granted and allowed to be squandered.

    4. Gabriel says:


      Why do conservatives keep changing the meaning of the Constitution to fit their own agenda? Why are conservatives always distorting the Constitution?

    5. Bobbie says:

      Gabriel, when you are the ignorant one you have to be specific…

    6. Gabriel says:


      I have asked you to be specific in every single comment I made and you have yet to be specific on a single subject. This is how it works, use my answer as a guide…

      you asked- "Gabriel, when you are the ignorant one you have to be specific"…

      ewww, again with the name-calling. so classy Bobbie!

      Here is my answer…

      Conservatives distort the 1st ammendment all the time. They/You are against same-sex marriage, building a Mosque in NYC which are both protected by the first ammendment. Also conservatives in Congress have asked many times to repeal the 14th and 17th ammendments. That is how you answer a question when asked. It's fairly easy. Try it sometime! :) waiting…

    7. Bobbie says:

      obviously you are looking for certain specifics?


    8. Gabriel says:

      uh oh, caps. Someone is getting upset. "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SAME SEX MARRIAGE!" -who says so, you? Why do you wish to take away the rights of others? Why do you wish to take away federal benefits from other people? Why can hetrosexuals receive rights but not homosexuals? Because you say so? Because the Bible tells you so?

      "THE 14TH AND 17TH AMENDMENT HAS BEEN DISTORTED TO FIT GOVERNMENT AND PERSONAL AGENDAS" -explain in detail. If you cant your argument immediatley fails.

    9. Bobbie says:

      Gabreil, I understand your mental disability is into double standards. and confusing meanings of words and an inability to accept what I write along with reality itself.

      You need to think for yourself to help overcome your illness.

    10. Gabriel says:

      why do you support taking rights and benefits away from other people because of your personal intolerance of other peoples choices? will you answer or just deflect more?

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