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Constitutional Law

2007

Constitutional interpretation

Faculty Law Review Articles

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Tempering The Commerce Power, Robert G. Natelson Jan 2007

Tempering The Commerce Power, Robert G. Natelson

Faculty Law Review Articles

The Supreme Court's modern interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause in the realm of interstate commerce is textually problematic, unfaithful to the Constitution's original meaning, and contains positive incentives for Congress to over-regulate. The Necessary and Proper Clause was intended to embody the common law doctrine of principals and incidents, and the Court should employ that doctrine as its interpretive benchmark. The common law doctrine contains less, although some, bias toward over-regulation, and it is flexible enough to adapt to changing social conditions. Adherence to the common law doctrine would markedly improve Commerce Power jurisprudence and reduce incentives for …