Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

09 July 2009

A Modest Proposal for Congress

I have a modest and very responsible proposal for Congress. It is also very simple.

No Representative of the House and no Senator shall be allowed to vote in favor of a new law unless he signs a sworn affidavit that he has read the bill completely.

He may vote against a bill without such an affidavit, since it is reasonable not to pass a bill whose supporters say it will do something which the legislator thinks is wrong or since he may have read a portion of the bill which is so wrong that it is clear the bill should not be passed into law.

Of course, I would ideally like to require that he also make a clear statement for the record as to what power granted to the Congress allows Congress to make such law. He should be required to show that the law is not unconstitutional as well. If he claims the law is in the interest of the General Welfare, then he should also have to show what listed power of Congress allows him to act in the General Welfare by passing the law.

Now I understand that in the present climate of political unthought, it will be very unlikely that Congressmen will limit their laws to the scope of their actual Constitutional powers. But, it would be something if we could at least get them to swear that they read it. Then, at least they would not defend themselves as not responsible for some of the great foolhardiness in many of their laws by saying that they did not know what the law was doing because they did not read it.

Proposed laws should also be posted on the Internet for a week before they are voted on in Congress so the public can review them for Constitutionality, graft, and general stupidity.

2 comments:

cedrac said...

Have you heard of The Enumerated Powers Act? Here are a couple of good articles on this act: http://www.heritage.org/Research/LegalIssues/lm29.cfm
and
http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5155

Apparently, this bill would require congress to show how any new laws they pass are constitutional.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the links, cedrac! They make very interesting reading.

I very much agree that Congress's refusal to embrace the Enumerated Powers Act is due to our federal legislature's total rejection of the Constitution's limits upon its power. Virtually every member of Congress is guilty of violating his oath of office to protect the Constitution. I agree fully with Prof. Walter Williams claim that Congress cannot show that 2 out of every 3 dollars that the federal government spends has a proper basis in its enumerated powers.