Essay on United States Constitution and Elastic Clause

Submitted By ChloeWest1
Words: 680
Pages: 3


A. The power of the Federal government has increased in relation to the states since the adoption of the Constitution. The necessary and proper clause or elastic clause and the commerce clause of the the Constitution have allowed the Federal government to assume powers that the states once held and to create new powers. These two clauses in combination or alone have enabled the Federal government to expand to its current bloated size, while the size and power of state governments have decreased.
The elastic clause, under Article I section VIII of the Constitution, allows the Congress of the United States "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution...powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States." This clause has allowed the extraordinary expansion of power of the Federal government relative to the states. The clause allowed Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs to expand the role of the Federal government in everyday life. Before FDR, the States spent more money than the Federal government did and were the primary avenue of public policy while the Federal government was secondary; after FDR and during FDR's administration, the Federal government became the primary means of instituting public policy, and spent more money than all of the states combined. The clause allowed the government to enter “the welfare business” and take over or supplement the role of the state governments
in that field. The clause allowed for the federal government to set up its own law enforcement agencies whose powers supercede those of the state law enforcement agencies. It has also allowed for the creation of a Federal highway system whereas before the construction of roads were primarily under the purview of the states. The elastic clause is a carte blanche for Federal power, and has allowed the expansion of the Federal government's power relative to the states.
The commerce clause of the US constitution, under Article I, Section VIII, allows the congress to "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." This clause has allowed the Federal government to have regulatory power in almost every facet of business and life. It has allowed the Federal government to increase its power versus the states. It allows the national government to set the rules for drug use and gambling, and supercedes the states in such matters and more. For instance, in an recent ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court, the court found that Phillip Morris had not misled consumers that light cigarettes were safer than normal