All of the Constitution is important and a good argument could be made for many sections, including the Bill of Rights, but I believe Article I Section I is most important. “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.”
With that beginning sentence The Constitution vests all policy making and law making authority of the federal government in congress. The term “vested” means that Congress cannot lawfully surrender or reassign its authority. The vesting of all legislative authority in a congress answerable to “We the People” is perhaps the bedrock premise of our legal system.
The bedrock premise of all legislative authority vested in Congress is, unfortunately, violated routinely today. Presidential executive orders that serve to set policy and assume a legislative function violate Article I section I by usurping the authority vested in Congress. The Constitution makes the President the “Chief Executive” not the” Chief Legislator”.
Regulatory agencies violate Article I Section I by assuming policy making authority. These agencies do not stand for election, and, to a certain extent, are accountable only to themselves. They sometimes become captive to those they purport to regulate as can readily be seen by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) similar relationship with the airline industry.
The funding of private organizations by the federal government violates Article I Section I by way of the impact these organizations have on policy. Many of these organizations have hundreds of grantees and hundreds of sub-grantees which have the authority to lobby, organize, and proselytize their views, all at the expense of the government. Many such organizations have lobbyists in the state legislatures as well as Congress, and thus have major impacts on policy.
The Federal Reserve violates Article I Section I as well as Article I section 8 “to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.” The transfer of congressional authority to the Federal Reserve, a private organization, is a violation of the legislative authority “vested” in Congress since the Federal Reserve makes policy. It is also a violation of Congress’ constitutional authority over and control of the money supply.
The Framers’ political afﬁliations consisted of those in favor of a stronger federal government than the Articles of Confederation would allow (Federalists), and those opposed to a strong federal government (Anti-Federalists). These competing groups eventually reached a comprise that was better than if either group had prevailed. Their intent with respect to political power was to diffuse it through division and sub-division in a system of checks and balances. With respect to Article one they wanted to make Congress directly accountable to “We the People” and so Congress was given the vitally important legislative authority.
At the same time they wanted to protect state sovereignty and make the federal government accountable to the states. They accomplished this by making the House of Representatives directly elected by the people and the Senate elected by the state legislatures: Article 1 Section 3 “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.” In 1913 the 17th amendment changed the way we elect Senators: Clause I “The senate shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.”
Ratification of the 17th amendment had great popular appeal because it was assumed that direct election of senators would make the election process more democratic. The Framers’ intent, as I mentioned before, was to diffuse power and make the federal government accountable to the states. The 17th Amendment had the effect of weakening the Constitutional safeguards for states, and thus has created a more centralized government structure which continues to grow and swallow any semblance of state sovereignty. It has also given rise to multi-million dollar Senatorial campaigns along with the rise of and entry into the process of special interest groups.
The information that I have presented in this article cast is vitally important to today’s world for the following reason. We as Americans have a duty to hold our representatives accountable and they must hold the President accountable.
We are created beings, and our rights come to us from our creator not as a gift from government. Since government does not grant our rights, it only secures them, our rights cannot legally be revoked by the government. Furthermore, since sovereignty reposes, not in the government, but in God, we owe a duty of accountability to Him as His creatures. When we delegate control over our resources to civil government, we have a moral obligation to hold civil government accountable to us so that we can be accountable to Him.
At least that’s the way I see it.