Art 1 Sec 1 – Standards

Randy Kehr

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.


Posted on January 25, 2013, in Article 1, Constitution, Randy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Daniel J. Fortune

    Sad but true. Decentralization is the only way. We have to somehow take some of the power conceded by the states to the federal government back. Unfortunately, the federal government isn’t going to hand it back, so the only option we have is tucked in Article V of our Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said, “In terms of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind man down by the chains of the Constitution.”

    The only way we can even begin this long road towards regaining state duality and eventual supremacy, is if we get the states to use the Article V process to amend the Constitution. We have to do as Jefferson said, bind these men down. This is why I have taken the position as Legislative Coordinator with Compact For America. This is our goal. We will be working with States to ratify a balanced budget amendment into the Constitution in a way that gives the power to spend in Washington back to the States.

    This is the only way. Nullification is only a temporary solution, we must also bind the federal government down by the chains of the Constitution. Civil disobedience is warranted and necessary, but we also must reassert the rule of law here in America. Many people think the Constitution is outdated, but using the article V process via the States will squash such assertions.


  2. The last time a credible “threat” of the states call for Convention was in the air, Congress quickly caved in and gave the States what the wanted (the 17th Amendment), which turned out in retrospect to be the opposite of what should have happened. As Spock said, having is not so pleasurable a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

    In that vein, the idea of a Convention is attractive – but only within the context of a clearly defined goal. In this country today, to open the door to anything remotely resembling an “open” convention opens the door to enumerated socialist destruction more so than the advancement or even maintenance of current levels of Liberty.

    Sadly, I doubt that 2/3rd of the states today would be excited about calling a convention to limit Federal power. Perhaps a better alternative in this political climate would be to target individual state legislatures for accountability and Constitutional education and subsequent enforcement?


  3. Our representative republic structure attempted to create a system of accountability that would serve to force our will upon our representatives, and to back that force with the power to toss them out on their ears if we became displeased with their performance. But, as it is with the passage of time, those wishing to overcome obstacles to their ambitions have built upon the efforts of their selfish predecessors. Each generation of scoundrels has learned from those that went before.

    Along with this “education”, the sheer size of government has enabled many to carve out comfortable and lucrative holes for themselves. Corrupt traditions among them, coupled with the obscurity built into the maze of government agencies, has left us with representatives that can defend their actions in multitudinous ways. They no longer fear the voter. Their support structures are truly massive, and provide them with effective cover against accusations of abuse of power and incompetency.

    Ultimately, the voter is responsible for the continuation of scoundrels in office. He is supposed to correct the mistakes of the previous election cycle. While representatives are not machines that will perform as desired, the basic form of the creatures is determined by the vote. It rests on the heads of Constitutional voters to educate the “good times” voters as to their serious, yet unnoticed, errors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: