Constitutional Minute #6 Enumerated Powers of the U.S. Congress

With the U.S. Constitution, We The People created the federal government.  It is our “creature” and has no powers other than those We delegated to it in Our Constitution. None!!

The federal government has three branches:

  1. Article I of the Constitution creates the Legislative Branch (Congress) and lists its powers;
  2. Article II creates the Executive Branch (President) and lists its powers;
  3. Article III creates the Judicial Branch (federal courts) and lists its powers.

In this short “minute”, we will consider only the enumerated powers of Congress. But the powers of the other two branches are likewise strictly limited and enumerated. Congress is NOT authorized to pass any law on any subject just because majorities in Congress think the law is a good idea! 

Article 1, Sec. 8 of the US Constitution listed (enumerated) the only powers we delegated to Congress for the country at large. In a nutshell, those powers fall into four categories:

♠ International relations, commerce and war;

♠ Control immigration by restricting who may come to these United States, and establish a uniform rule of naturalization of new citizens;

♠ Domestically, to establish a uniform commercial system: weights and measures, patents and copyrights, a monetary system based on gold and silver, bankruptcy law, a [limited] power over interstate commerce, and mail delivery.

♠And, in some of the amendments, to protect certain civil and certain voting rights.

As you can see, there is nothing included above about “abortion”, “energy”, “minimum wage”, “housing”, “internet”, etc.

Those are powers retained by the States or the People.

If you would care for a more detailed explanation, go here: