Powers Held by Federal Government

Powers Held by Federal Government

(RepublicanReport.com) – As the governing document of the United States, the Constitution is very clear about the powers it grants to the federal government. After all, the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure a balance between the states and national levels to prevent the same tyranny they escaped from. Let’s take a look at the three main types of powers bestowed upon the national government.

Delegated or Expressed Powers

Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution grants delegated powers to the federal government. Ratified in 1788, there are 18 clauses in total. Some of the specific powers granted include:

  • Coining money
  • Regulating commerce
  • Declaring war
  • Establishing a Post Office
  • Raising and maintaining armed forces

To ensure a system of checks and balances, these powers are delegated throughout the three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. This prevents any branch or individual from having too much authority — one of the main principles the Founding Fathers instilled.

Implied Powers

Implied powers are those not explicitly stated in the Constitution, but rather inferred. This comes from Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 — also known as the “necessary and proper” or “elastic” clause — which states:

“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 …”

Through these implied powers, the framers of the Constitution provided a way for the document to grow along with the country. One shining example of implied powers put to use is the case of McCulloch v Maryland. In 1816, Congress created the Second National Bank and two years later, the state of Maryland created legislation and imposed taxes on the bank. James McCulloch claimed the tax was unconstitutional and refused to pay. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in McCulloch’s favor.

Inherent Powers

The president holds Inherent powers. In short, they’re designed to give the commander-in-chief the ability to fulfill responsibilities of the office by necessary means as outlined in Article II, Sections 1 and 3.

Inherent powers exist because the framers acknowledged that they couldn’t anticipate, nor list, the powers the federal government would need as the country expanded and needs changed. One example of inherent power is the president’s ability to issue executive orders.

The Founding Fathers were thorough in their creation of the Constitution and their attempts to balance out power. There have been strong partisan arguments as to whether it’s a living document, with the majority arguing court rulings should be adapted for modern times while others believe it should be interpreted as originally written. Regardless, the types of powers issued to the federal government and how they should be applied remain clear.

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