The court assumes a power to
overrules or control the actions of peoples representatives.
Congressional Act Appropriately Challenged
The Constitution is the supreme law
of the land ordained and established by the people.
All legislation must conform to the
principles it lays down.
When an act of Congress is
appropriately challenged in the courts as not conforming to the
constitutional mandate the judicial branch of the Government has
only one duty, -- to lay the
article of the Constitution which is invoked beside the statute
which is challenged and to decide whether the [statute] squares
with the [article].
Announce Judgment (Power of Judgment)
All the court does, or can do, is to
announce its considered judgment upon the question
The only power it has is the power
This court neither approves nor
condemns any legislative policy.
Duty (Is a statute in Accordance or in Contravention with the
To ascertain and declare whether the
legislation is in accordance with, or in contravention of, the
provisions of the Constitution; and, having done that, its duty
The clauses thought to authorizes legislation
The clause thought to authorize the
legislation, confers upon the Congress power "to
lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the
Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of
the United States. . . ."
The power to lay and collect taxes for the general welfare
The Government concedes that the
phrase "to provide for the general welfare" qualifies the power
"to lay and collect taxes."
No authoritatively accepted
The view that the clause grants
power to provide for the general welfare,
independently of the taxing power,
has never been
Mr. Story - Power to Tax, is undoubtedly granted
The true construction undoubtedly is
that the ONLY thing
granted is the power to tax
for the purpose of providing funds for payment of the nation's
debts and making provision for the general welfare.
Government Arg General welfare should cover anything conducive
to national welfare
The argument is that
Congress may appropriate and authorize
the spending of moneys for
the "general welfare"; that the phrase should be
liberally construed to cover anything conducive to national
The decision as to what will promote
such welfare rests with Congress
may not review its determination;
The appropriation under attack was
in fact for the general welfare of the United States
Sharp Difference of Opinion General Welfare
Madison Reference to other enumerated powers
It amounted to no more than a
reference to the other powers enumerated in the subsequent
clauses of the same section.
The grant of power to tax and spend
for the general national
welfare must be confined to the enumerated legislative fields
committed to the Congress.
In this view the phrase is mere
tautology [redundancy], for taxation and appropriation are or
may be necessary incidents of the exercise of any of the
enumerated legislative powers.
Hamilton Clause is separate and distinct from those enumerated
Hamilton maintained the clause
confers a power separate and distinct from those later
The power is not restricted in
meaning by the grant of them
Congress consequently has a
substantive power to tax and to appropriate,
Limited only by the requirement that
it shall be exercised to provide for the general welfare of the
Court Agrees with Hamilton
power to tax is not unlimited
Its confines are
set in the clause which confers
it, and not in those of 8 which bestow and define the
legislative powers of the Congress.
It results that the power of
Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public
purposes is not limited by the
direct grants of legislative power found in the
Scope of general welfare
Whether an appropriation in aid of
agriculture falls within it.
Constitution prohibits the enforcement
of the Agriculture Adjustment Act
The act invades the
reserved rights of the states.
It is a statutory plan to regulate
and control agricultural production,
a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government.
The tax, the appropriation of the
funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but
parts of the plan.
They are but
means to an
Government Arg Constitutionally sound
Because the end is accomplished by
Count Arg Regulation is not voluntary (Financial Ruin)
If the farmer refuses to comply,
then he will loss benefits.
The amount offered to him exerts
pressure on him to agree with regulation.
If the cotton grower elects not to
accept the benefits, he will receive less for his crops.
Those who receive payments will be
able to undersell him.
Resulting in financial ruin.
Court - Submit to a regulation that otherwise could not be
Congress has no power to enforce its
command on the farmer accomplished by taxing and spending to
Enforcement is reserved to the
Congress has not power to regulate
wages and hours of labor in a local business.
If such a statute was allowed,
Congress could appropriate money to be paid to employers from
federal treasury where they have to agree to comply with the
regulation on labor wages and hours.
Congress would exercise the power of
taxing using prohibited means.
[Justice Stone ] DISSENT
Courts are subject to two guiding principles of decision when
First, courts must concern
themselves only with the power to
enact the statute, not with the statute's wisdom.
Second, while legislation is subject
to judicial restraint, the only check upon our own exercise of
power is our own sense of
Statute No Coercion
The plan does not involve any
coercion because threat of loss, not hope of gain, is the
essence of economic coercion.
Removal of Unwise Legislation For the Political Process
The removal of unwise legislation
lies not to the courts but to the political process.
An action that Congress induces by
payments of money to promote
the general welfare, but which it does not command or
coerce, is but an incident
to a specifically granted power, but a
permissible means to a legitimate end.
The power to tax and spend includes
the power to relieve a nationwide economic maladjustment by
conditional gifts of money.