[extropy-chat] FWD [SK] Re: Politics: US talks of suspending

Terry W. Colvin fortean1 at mindspring.com
Wed Jul 14 21:34:42 UTC 2004

On Tue, Jul 13, 2004 at 09:11:26PM -0700, Terry W. Colvin wrote:
> You still don't understand the US. We are a Common Law nation. Under
> the Constitution, if something isn't specified, it doesn't mean you
> can't do it, or can do it, it means you first go by what historical
> precedents there are in the Common Law, particularly WRT individual
> liberties (and there is ample precedent in the Common Law in dealing
> with activities of traitors and enemy combatants, most of which are
> actually quite grisly, which is why the Geneva Conventions were created
> in the first place).

This is simply incorrect, and ignores the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

The Constitution grants specific powers to the federal government.
Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power "to make all Law 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."  If the power isn't explicitly granted, or necessary and
proper for executing an explicitly granted power, then the federal
government doesn't have the power.

Now, since McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) the "necessary and proper" was
broadened expansively, and Congress's ability to regulate "commerce"
was broadly expanded in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), but it's still the
case 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" (10th Amendment) and that "The
enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" (9th
Amendment).  The latter has not frequently been referred to by the
Supreme Court, but recently played a role in the striking down of
Texas' sodomy laws (in Lawrence v. Texas).

Jim Lippard

"Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1 at mindspring.com >
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