Questionable Constitutional Authority Statement

Jul 22, 2013


Bill: H.R. 2381, To provide for youth jobs, and for other purposes.  

Introduced by: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Constitutional Authority Statement
“ ‘The Constitution of the United States,’ Article 1, Section 8.”   

Why this is an inadequate explanation: To the question of which powers granted to Congress in the Constitution give it authority to enact the proposed bill, this statement answers “ ‘The Constitution of the United States.’ ”  After citing the U.S. Constitution in quotations, the statement also bothers to include the entirety of Article 1, Section 8. The statement almost reads as sarcastic, with the Constitution of the United States in mocking air quotes, and Article 1 Section 8 thrown in as a perfunctory afterthought.

Article 1, Section 8 addresses all of Congress’ enumerated powers. If these powers in their entirety provided self-evident authority to enact legislation, there would be no need for Constitutional Authority Statements.

How to fix this statement: A better Constitutional Authority Statement would legitimately explain from where in the Constitution the Congress derives the authority to pass this particular legislation. It should cite at least one specific clause of constitutional authority and provide explanation as to why the clause is relevant.