|Constitutional Authority Statements
On January 5, 2011, the House adopted a new rule requiring that each bill or joint resolution introduced be accompanied by a Constitutional Authority Statement. RSC Staffers have compiled the Statements for every bill and joint resolution introduced this Congress and analyzed these data. The RSC has also made recommendations based on what was found. Select findings, along with recommendations and Questionable Constitutional Authority Statements, are below.
RSC Research on Constitutional Authority Statements
RSC One Pager: Constitutional Authority Statements Year-End Analysis (House-Passed Bills)
Questionable Constitutional Authority Statements
December 20, 2012 - Rep. Kucinich cites "Section S" of the Constitution, which does not exist.
December 14, 2012 - Rep. Reyes cites writes out all of Congress' enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8.
December 6, 2012 - Rep. Barrow misidentifies the Commerce Clause and does not explain this mistake.
November 29, 2012 - Rep. McDermott incorrectly cites an insufficient Clause while naming a nonexistent Section.
November 15, 2012 - Rep. Cummings incorrectly cites the Constitution while promoting Constitutional education.
November 8, 2012 - Rep. Rangel cites the piracy punishment powers for a bill regarding criminal records.
October 25, 2012 - Rep. Butterfield misidentifies and incorrectly cites the Commerce Clause.
October 11, 2012 - Rep. Doyle cites the Supremacy Clause without explanation.
September 27, 2012 - Rep. Clay incorrectly identifies the Commerce Clause and refuses to explain the selection.
September 20, 2012 - Rep. Hanabusa cites the anti-counterfeiting powers to justify naming a post office.
September 13, 2012 - Rep. Garamendi cites a broad set of powers without explaining a specific justification.
August 2, 2012 - Rep. Scott cites clauses related to coining money to justify a bill on youth prison reduction.
July 26, 2012 - Rep. Miller inadequately cites many provisions, including Senate powers, to justify a bill.
July 19, 2012 - Rep. Moran incorrectly cites a clause which still would not have been sufficient.
July 12, 2012 - Rep. Becerra cites a section which does not exist in the U.S. Constitution.
July 6, 2012 - Rep. Green argues against the requirement to constitutionally justify legislation.
June 28, 2012 - Rep. Schiff cites the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Preamble to justify legislation.
June 21, 2012 - Rep. Sutton cites Congressional powers without identifying any specific one.
June 14, 2012 - Rep. Larsen intentionally refuses to offer a constitutional justification.
June 7, 2012 - Rep. Carson cites House Rules, including those for expelling a Member, to award Muhammad Ali a gold medal.
May 31, 2012 - Rep. Visclosky cites a clause which does not exist.
May 24, 2012 - Rep. McDermott cites the general process of legislation to justify a particular bill.
May 17, 2012 - Rep. Perlmutter cites the a clause on pre-Constitutional debts to justify a bill about Freddie Mac.
May 10, 2012 - Rep Carnahan cites the creation of the Congress to justify a specific Congressional action.
May 3, 2012 - Rep. Grijalva presumably cites all legislative powers without reference to a specific clause.
April 26, 2012 - Rep. Conyers cites "Article I" without explanation or reference to a specific clause.
April 19, 2012 - Rep. Fattah cites only the "necessary and proper" clause to justify Congressional action.
April 12, 2012 - Rep. Larson cites the creation of Congress to justify the Export-Import Bank re-authorization.
April 5, 2012 - Rep. Stark cites the general rules of legislation without explanation to justify a specific bill.
March 29, 2012 - Rep. Schiff cites only the "necessary and proper" clause and the preamble to the Constitution.
March 22, 2012 - Rep. Holt cites Article I generally without specifying a particular section or clause.
March 8, 2012 - Rep. Kaptur cites Congressional powers generally without referring to a specific grant of power.
March 1, 2012 - Rep. Kucinich cites the preamble to the Constitution to justify the creation of the Department of Peace.
February 23, 2012 - Rep. Baca cites only the “necessary and proper” clause to justify awarding a gold medal to golfer Jack Nicklaus.
February 16, 2012 - Rep. Heinrich cites the Judicial Branch to justify a Congressional action.
February 9, 2012 - Rep. Lewis cites "Article I" generally without specifying a specific section or clause.
February 7, 2012 - Rep. Polis cites the creation of a Legislative Branch to justify a specific legislative power.
Some suggestions to submitting the strongest, most thorough Constitutional Authority Statements on the Hill include, but are not limited to:
-Always providing several sentences of explanation in every Constitutional Authority Statement in addition to the Clause of specific authority.
-Always citing an Article, Section, and Clause of constitutional authority (and/or a specific phrase of an Amendment).
-Never citing the “necessary and proper” clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 18) without also citing a foregoing power, as required by Clause 18 itself.
As always, if you need help with your constitutional authority statements, please do not hesitate to be in touch with the RSC.
RSC Constitutional Analysis in the Press
Washington Times: Constitution 101
Free Beacon: Upholding the Constitution
Washington Times: Butchering the Constitution