Art 1 Sec 1 – Standards
Article I Section 1 – Legislative Vesting Clause
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
Standards. Without standards, there are no means by which to fairly and uniformly measure a thing. More so, there are no restrictions on those very things one might wish to measure. Within our legislative system, our law makers are tasked with the creation of standards that will adequately protect our rights and liberties. They are to define the boundaries across which no man shall step, and yet leave unobstructed to the individual the right to exercise his liberties as God himself has endowed him.
The creation of standards, and the policing of them, falls to the legislative branch. The executive and the judicial do not possess legislative permissions, by design. Only congress may create laws. Yet, we have seen powers vested within agencies and regulatory bodies that appear to be equal with the law making authority of Congress. “Regulatory Powers” are often assigned without regards to specific standards. The agencies are left to define the standards, or even the need for standards, and then entrusted with the power to enforce adherence to those standards by any and all over whom they claim authority. In effect, the Legislative Branch confers lawmaking powers upon whom it pleases, even though it possesses no enumerated power to create additional lawmakers, either within its own body or without. Over time and in part, Congress has outsourced its powers.
The political dangers that Congressmen face can be lessened by offloading the responsibility for creating and policing standards to another body, department or branch. The dirty work that would constitutionally fall to them is reassigned, or “delegated”. This is in opposition to Article 1, Section 1. “All legislative Powers (not some) herein granted…” Clearly, the power to legislate is a “granted” power, not an inherent power due to a class of government officials by matter of birth, election or other means. “Granted” assumes a “grantor”. Within the Preamble, we find the identity of the grantor within the opening phrase, “We the People”. The power to legislate comes from the People, and is “vested in a Congress of the United States”. There is no provision to re-vest the legislative powers elsewhere. There is no provision to create legislative powers as part of the establishment of an extra-congressional body. Therefore, both the authority and the accountability vested within Congress, to create and regulate standards, is required to remain within Congress. That the legislative branch has often outsourced its duties to the executive and judicial is no justification by means of frequency or precedent. The compartmentalization of the government is weakened, and the clarity of its function obscured, when such delegated powers are reassigned.
The USSC “clarified” to Congress the power to delegate legislative power, if the act doing so includes “an intelligible principle” that the person or body to whom the power has been delegated may use in order to come into conformity. 1928 J.W.Hapmton, Jr. & Co. v. United States. Since then, the Court has taken rather wide swings with its own standard, and today, we regularly see the three branches operating outside of their enumerated boundaries. The Legislative Vesting Clause has been eroded by degrees, and would appear to be on its way to becoming an artifact of history.