When asked last fall where the Constitution authorizes Congress to require citizens to buy health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was temporarily caught off guard, finally sputtering, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” She then quickly turned to another reporter without further comment.
Another Democrat, Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois, reacted similarly when recently posed that question by one of his constituents: “I don’t really worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest.”
While the thought that the Constitution actually limits the power of Congress to enact legislation may be foreign to some Democrats, the framers of the Constitution intended for the federal government to be limited to the powers that are specifically enumerated, or listed, in the text of the document.
In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote: “[T]he proposed Government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.”
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