He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. — Martin Luther King Jr, 1958

A Progressive Perverts the Commerce Clause; but O’Reilly Gets it Right!

April 16, 2012   ·   By   ·   13 Comments

Bill O'Reilly at a Hudson Union Society event in September 2010.

Bill O'Reilly at a Hudson Union Society event in September 2010. (Photo credit: Justin Hoch)

Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) made our Framers proud when, on March 26, 2012, he correctly explained [probably for the first time ever on TV] the genuine meaning of the interstate commerce clause. O’Reilly’s guest was Big Government Progressive Caroline Fredrickson, Esq., of the inaptly named “American Constitution Society”.  In trying to defend Obamacare, she said that our Framers intended to grant to Congress extensive powers over the “national economy”:

“When the Founding Fathers adopted the Constitution, they put in the commerce clause ah specifically so that Congress could actually regulate interstate commerce.  They envisioned a national economy, and we really have one now, and to the tune of over two trillion dollars, health care makes up a big big part of that and so it’s completely within the power of ah Congress to pass this legislation [Obamacare] and to attempt to provide some reasonable regulation…”

But what she said is not true! Accordingly, O’Reilly responded:

“The interstate commerce clause was put in so individual States could not charge tariffs [for] going from one state to another.  So, for example, Pennsylvania would say to New Jersey, ‘Hey, you can’t bring in anything here from New Jersey unless you pay us 2% on it.’ ”

Bravo, O’Reilly!  That is precisely the purpose of the interstate commerce clause.  James Madison, Father of our Constitution, wrote in Federalist No. 42 (9th para):

“… A very material object of this power [to regulate interstate commerce] was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State … ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former…”

And Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 22 (4th para):

“…’ The commerce of the German empire … is in continual trammels from the multiplicity of … duties which the several princes and states exact upon the merchandises passing through their territories, by means of which the … navigable rivers [of] … Germany … are rendered almost useless.’ Though the … people of this country might never permit this … to be … applicable to us, yet we may … expect, from the … conflicts of State regulations, that the citizens of each would … come to be … treated by the others in no better light …”

So!  What our Framers actually said was that the purpose of the interstate commerce clause is to authorize Congress to prevent the States from imposing tolls and tariffs on articles of import and export – merchandize – as they are transported through the States for purposes of buying and selling.1 

But Fredrickson apparently has no idea what our Framers said.  She dug deeper:

“Actually this was a major issue at stake in the adoption of the Constitution was the ability of our national government to deal with national issues and, let’s look a little bit at what’s happened in the 20th century…”

What?  Our Framers made a “major issue” of their determination to grant to Congress power over whatever it might in the future deem to be a “national issue”?

No Way!  What Fredrickson said is demonstrably not true.  Our Framers said the exact opposite of what she represented. In Federalist No. 45 (9th para), Madison identified the “national issues” Congress would be dealing with:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people….” [boldface mine]

In Federalist No. 39 (3rd para from end):

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.” [boldface mine]

and in Federalist No. 14 (8th para):

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects.…” [boldface mine]

Do you see?  Our Framers drafted a Constitution which established a Federation of Sovereign States united only for the limited purposes enumerated in the Constitution. The powers of each of the three branches of the federal government are carefully limited and defined. See: Congress’ enumerated powers, the President’s enumerated powers, and the Judicial Branch’s enumerated powers.  Our Constitution does not delegate general legislative powers over the Country at large to Congress!  Ours is a Constitution of enumerated powers only.  And nothing – nothing – in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to control the provision - or denial - of medical care to The People.  Thus, Obamacare is altogether unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress by Our Constitution.

Folks! Do not believe what you hear people saying about Our Constitution on TV or the Radio.  Most of them don’t know what they are talking about, or they are lying. Only rarely does anyone get it right as O’Reilly did. So you must check things out for yourself. And always demand Proof! PH

End Note:
1 For a more definitive explanation of the genuine meaning of the interstate commerce clause, and more irrefutable proof from primary sources, see: Does The Interstate Commerce Clause Authorize Congress To Force Us To Buy Health Insurance?  Progressives!  Read it and rebut it, if you can. PH


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Publius Huldah is a retired litigation attorney who now lives in Tennessee. Before getting a law degree, she got a degree in philosophy where she specialized in political philosophy and epistemology (theories of knowledge). She now writes extensively on the U.S. Constitution, using the Federalist Papers to prove its original meaning and intent. She shows how federal judges and politicians have ignored Our Constitution and replaced it with their personal opinions and beliefs. She also shows how The People can, by learning our Founding Principles themselves, restore our Constitutional Republic.
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  • ToBeRight

    What frightens me is that there is no denying a national government.  Our federal government seems a quaint anachronism.  The question is two-fold:  First, can we successfully usher in a new era of constitutional governance?  Second, do enough people desire a constitutional republic? 

    And the cynic in me….  Do enough people even know what a constitutional republic is?  Or what federalism is, for that matter?

    • http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/ Publius Huldah

      It is up to The People.  If they want it back, they will get it back.  But few are willing to make the effort to learn our Founding Principles.  

  • http://twitter.com/ROCnewsletter Righting Our Consent

    Another well deserved Bravo!  for Publius Huldah. These pundits are usually never called out on their inaccurate or false statements by media, who themselves seem to be unaware of the original intent of our system of government.
    Those swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution go about treating the federal government as if it’s a national one as a rule. They are either ignorant, or worse, willfully adopting a post-constitutional mindset. The mistake that We the People made was driven by a media campaign years ago that fooled people into adopting a change that removed the accountability to the States that was so vital to preserve federalism. This was the 17th Amendment. It will need to be repealed to ever fully restore that accountability and have the US Senators once again answer to their State’s legislators.
    At least these Attorney Generals are fighting back on the lawlessness of this regime Ref–
    Attorneys General Join Forces http://rslc.com/_blog/News/post/MEMO_A_Report_on_Obama_Administration_Violations_of_Law/

    • http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/ Publius Huldah

      You are so right about repealing the 17th Amendment - that is the only way The States - the Members of the Federation - can regain control over Congress. 
      We must elect to Congress only those who promise to do all they can to get Congress to propose an Amendment repealing the 17th Amendment.

  • Pingback: A progressive perverts The Constitution, but O’Reilly gets it right! Publiushuldah to Publius Huldah | Tennesseans Watching Federal & State Government

  • http://redrooster.blogtownhall.com/ Rian

    Great job again Publius.  To many times the Constitution is misinterpreted by both sides, so it’s nice to see O’Reilly get it right.  Thanks for pointing this out.  I’ll share post this with at the Tea Party Patriot forum. 

    • http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/ Publius Huldah

      Rian, TPP is calling, I think, for a con con.  I think the “leaders” at TPP went to the Harvard conference  a few months ago and got snookered by the progressives there who are drooling at the prospect of getting rid of Our Constitution completely and forever w/o hope of Resurrection.

      May I send you some materials showing why a con con is the WORST idea since Sin?  I haven’t written on it b/c others (e.g., Phyllis Schlafly at National Eagle Forum, Henry Lamb of Tennessee, etc.) have done such a GREAT job in explaining why it is suicidal for us.  In a nutshell, the proponents are lying to us…..

      • http://redrooster.blogtownhall.com/ Rian

         Publius,
          I have your piece entitled “Why the Balanced Budget Amendment is The WORST Idea Ever” (http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/33670).  Anytime I hear someone mention a Con Con (I used to say that to, I ask them to read your article.  I also posted this on TTP a few times and maybe I should do it again.  I think the people who created the TTP site and organization might be out of touch.  Also, when mentioned, I use your article entitled, “Why the “Balanced Budget Amendment” is a Hoax - and a Deadly Trap”. (http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/37954).  I find your articles to be great ammo when debating fellow patriots.  The one thing the Tea Party of today is missing is “Madison or Jefferson” type to guide us.  I contacted John Eastman of Chapman Law to encourage him with his campaign for AG of California (he lost).  People like you and Eastman (experts in the Constitution) have a lot of clout the Tea Party people, so thank you so much!!!!
        RH

  • Noah

    THE PEOPLE are too fat and spoiled on carb overload to embrace The Truth of Publius Huldah. She tells it like it is. When THE PEOPLE get hungry enough They will stand and come out to embrace Our Constitutional Republic. “HALLELUJAH” what a day that will be.

    • http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/ Publius Huldah

      Thank you kindly, Noah.  But I only set forth the Words of Wisdom which came from our Framers.  THEY were the wise ones.  I merely show how all of us - with some effort - can learn our Founding Principles and restore our Constitutional Republic and the moral greatness which De Tocqueville wrote about.

      But Our People better lay that bag of chips down pretty soon, or it will be too late for us.

  • retiredday

    Once again, Publius, short, sweet and to the point.  What amazes a person of my age is how liars like Caroline Fredrickson, Esq. even get air time.  I was taught about the origin of the interstate commerce clause in high school.  I guess that’s just one more thing they don’t teach anymore.

    I would hasten to add that the leftist “American Constitution Society” has absolutely nothing in common with the Constitution Party (sometimes called the American Constitution Party), which is conservative and traditional.  I’m sure the name is intended to be confusing. Please check out the Constitution Party at http://www.constitutionparty.com/

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