Oil Spills and Strict Construction

constitution 1

A nice joke from Mark Kleiman who asks “Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal government has the power to cap runaway oil wells?”

The point, of course, is that for quite a long time now we’ve been operating under an understanding of the constitution in which Article I Section 8 of the Constitutions authorizes broad authority to regulate the economy. I’m sure some small minority of people genuinely do believe in the alternative, radical reading that would deny Congress this power. But an extremely large swathe of conservative politicians and opinion leaders who clearly don’t believe in the restrictive reading under a broad variety of circumstances suddenly pop up pretending to believe it when faced with something they don’t like such as the Affordable Care Act.