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Author: dsolo01 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2818  
Subject: Re: Census Date: 5/8/2000 1:08 AM
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Just a quick Constitutional Law response to the previously written criticism of the lack of enforcement of the 10th amendment...

Yes, it is true that on occasions throughout the history of this great land that the Congress of the United States has perhaps tried to use the Commerce Clause towards ends that were not always so intimately tied to interstate commerce. Many of these have been subsequently no-no-ed by the United States Supreme Court (ex: hanguns on school grounds in Arizona...not a subject of interstate commerce). However, without a somewhat broad reading of language like the infamous commerce clause, or the "necessary and proper" clause, and so on, the federal government of the United States would be unable to do very much of anything at all. If a strict reading of the Constitution is done, the central government of the United States has very little to do.

Though it is true that perhaps the "strict scrutiny" school of Constitutional interpretation finds things like the Census to be a heinous misreading of the great document that rules our land, I find the "meaning of the words" and "framer's intent" arguments far more compelling. When these words were written, the men who penned them could not possibly have had the hubris to assume that they could forsee every need and responsibility of a central government as the world continued to change. I'm sure they felt, just as everyone who has ever authored a memorandum or mission statement does, that their work was far from perfect. With this in mind, their intent could not possibly have been to follow the literal wording of their document. They wrote it with ambiguity so that the generations that followed could do what was necessary in a changing and growing country. Their work was a schematic blueprint, but not a finished and detailed design. If the words of the 10th amendment are read with such a narrow view, a Constitutional amendment would be necessary for every pesky federal governmental responsibility not specifically enumerated in the orignial document. If you think the Feds work slowly now, just imagine what THAT would be like. The fact is that, yes, the Census was not officially enumerated in the original Constitution, nor in its subsequent amendments. However, neither was an income tax, nor the power to desegregate schools, nor to grant student loans, nor to build and maintain the White House and the Capitol, nor to fund Head Start preschools, and not most of the things that everyone in this country takes for granted that the federal government does for them every single day.

If you in Fooldom find the Census so appaling, I invite you to bring suit against the government for overstepping their Constitutionally alloted bounds. However, 1) you will have to prove an actual injury to yourself and 2) you'll have to show that injury was a direct result of an unconsitutional action by the federal government. Good luck.

(oh, and since federal money for road upkeep, highway construction and the like are based in part on said Census, I'd say its link to Interstate Commerce, if that was the ground they chose to defend on, is pretty well established.)
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