Ep. 39: U.S. Constitution – Article I, Section 9 – Powers Denied to Congress, Part 3

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Ep. 39: U.S. Constitution - Article I, Section 9 - Powers Denied to Congress, Part 3
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Show Notes

In this episode, Jason closes out the discussion of Article I, Section 9 including clauses 4 through 8. Each of these final clauses limits Congress in some way: from preventing direct taxation and taxing exports to preventing the interference of commerce with the states, barring titles of nobility, and ensuring Congress constitutionally authorizes the spending of money BEFORE it is withdrawn from the treasury.

[4]“No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken

[5] “No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.”

[6] “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.”

[7] “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

[8] “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

  • Records of the Federal Convention (see vol 1, vol 2, vol 3).
  • U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2, Clause 3
    • “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…” [Emphasis added]
  • U.S. Constitution, Amendment XVI
    • “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
  • “Capitation tax” – A fixed amount levied on every person named in the tax (i.e. adult).  Synonymous with poll tax or head tax
  • “Direct Tax” – A tax on a human for something that cannot reasonably be avoided or shifted to others (i.e. themselves, their income, or their property). 
  • “Indirect Tax” – Taxes that don’t apply to humans. Transactions like Imposts, Excise, Duties, & Sales Taxes. Humans can avoid them by not purchasing or using items that have been taxed where the cost is passed on to the buyer.
  • Luther Martin, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Maryland, in his address to the MD house of representatives regarding Clause 6
    • “…if Maryland for instance should have occasion to oppose the Encroachments of the General Government m Congress might direct that all Vessels coming into this Bay, to enter and clear at Norfolk, and thereby become as formidable to this State by an exercise of this power, as they could be by the Military arrangements or Civil Judiciaries.”
  • U.S. Representative Hugh Williamson speaking in Conress
    • The clear and obvious intention of the articles mentioned was, that Congress might not have the power of imposing unequal burdens; that it might not be in their power to gratify one part of the Union by oppressing another. It appeared possible, and not very improbable, that the time might come, when, by greater cohesion, by more unanimity, by more address, the Representatives of one part of the Union might attempt to impose unequal taxes, or to relieve their constituents at the expense of other people. To prevent the possibility of such a combination, the articles that I have mentioned were inserted in the Constitution .
  • George Mason, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Virginia speaking to the Virginia Ratifying Convention about the phrase “from time to time” in clause 7:
    • “The reasons urged in favor of this ambiguous expression, was, that there might be some matters which might require secrecy. In matters relative to military operations and foreign negotiations”

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