Every member of Congress swears an oath to defend the United States Constitution “… against all enemies, foreign and domestic …” It’s kind of hard to do that if like House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) you don’t know what it says:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said the “good and welfare clause” gives Congress the authority to require individuals to buy health insurance as mandated in the health care bill. However, there is no “good and welfare clause” in the U.S. Constitution.
During an interview Capitol Hill Friday, CNSNews.com asked Rep. Conyers, “The individual mandate in the bill requires individuals to purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that never before in the history of the United States has the federal government required any one to purchase any good or service. What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance?”
Conyers said: “Under several clauses, the good and welfare clause and a couple others. All the scholars, the constitutional scholars that I know — I’m chairman of the Judiciary committee, as you know — they all say that there’s nothing unconstitutional in this bill and if there were, I would have tried to correct it if I thought there were.”
The what??? There is no “good and welfare” clause in the Constitution… the word “good” appears just once in Article 3, Section 1, which deals with the Judicial Branch:
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The word “welfare” appears twice once in the preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
And again in Article 1, Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Neither instance gives Congress the authority to force private citizens to purchase health insurance. It’s a sad state affairs when our elected leaders… who have sworn to defend the Constitution either don’t know, or don’t care what it says. The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Federalist Papers and the Debates of the Constitution should be required reading for every high school student — and politician in America.
Update: Be sure to follow the related links below for a couple great analysis’ of the situation… Kerry Picket at The Washington Times points out then President James Madison’s March 3, 1817 veto of a federal public works bill. Madison, one of the architects, of the Constitution explains the limitations of the “to provide for common defense and general welfare” clause. And Allahpundit has a good synopsis of the legal issues at Hot Air.
- Conyers fabricates constitutional law citing ‘good and welfare’ clause – Kerry Picket, Washington Times
- Conyers: O-Care is constitutional because of the “Good and Welfare Clause” – Allahpundit, Hot Air