Constitutional Authority Statements
I was getting ready to write something about the new Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA for short – couldn’t get another O in there, guys?), and its intersection with the free market, libertarianism more generally, and the liberal idea of how freedom really works.
Instead, I got totally sidetracked. I headed over to THOMAS (one of my favorite resources) to look up the actual text of the bill so I might have something interesting to say, looked up the bill (H.R. 5050, if you’re curious), and I noticed the link to the “constitutional authority statement”. I had forgotten these things even happened any more, so I clicked on it to see what came up, and I found:
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:
Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution.
Huh. Okay. That, of course, doesn’t make any sense, since here is the full text of Article I, Section I:
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.
That’s not much of a power! Anyway, I guess this is well-trod ground, but I had just forgotten this practice existed at all. Given that I’m probably somewhere around the top 0.5% in terms of political interest, that’s probably not a great sign.