I would like to wish everyone a happy “James Madison’s Birthday” anniversary today, March 16. Mr. Madison is the fellow who said, among other things:
Hitherto charters have been written grants of privileges by Governments to the people. Here they are written grants of power by the people to their Governments.
Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for … the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Laws are unconstitutional which infringe the rights of the community … government should be disarmed of powers which trench upon those particular rights.
The powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.
There is no maxim, in my opinion, which is more liable to be misapplied … than … that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong … nothing can be more false … it would be the interest of the majority in every community to despoil and enslave the minority of individuals … reestablishing … force as the measure of right.
The legitimate meaning of [the Constitution] must be derived from the text itself.
The real measure of the powers meant to be granted to Congress by the Constitution is to be sought in the specifications … not … with a latitude that, under the name or means for carrying into execution a limited Government, would transform it into a Government without limits.
With respect to the words, "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the details of power connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution … not contemplated by the creators.
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
If Congress can employ money indefinitely … the powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.
Would it be wonderful to have someone like this in Congress right now? Unfortunately, dead guys cannot run for high office – expect in Chicago.